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Away from Home. Protecting and Supporting Children on the Move

Author(s): D. Reale

This report looks at the definition of children on the move, their experiences, what support is necessary for them and how protection systems can be adapted to meet the needs of children on the move.  The paper argues that children on the move are particularly vulnerable to the worst forms of child labour and to sexual exploitation and abuse. On the other hand, when movement occurs in safe conditions, it can be positive for children providing them with opportunities to access education, contributing to their family's income, helping them to develop new skills or realise other aspirations. Some children report that they value these opportunities and that they are prepared to accept other negative outcomes, such as low pay, hard working conditions and poor living conditions, if necessary. Therefore, the paper concludes that in order to improve the wellbeing of children on the move, policy-makers and practitioners need to understand the reasons why children are moving and to acknowledge the beneficial effects of children's movements. Furthermore,  governments supported by intergovernmental agencies such as UNICEF, the International Labour Organisation, the International Organisation on Migration, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and by NGOs, should:

1. Ensure that children on the move are visible in all relevant national and international policy discussions.

2 Ensure that anti-trafficking initiatives, while very important, do not ‘crowd out' or impact negatively on support and care for all children on the move.

3 Address gaps in legislation, policies and services to protect and support children on the move, with the full involvement of children themselves.

4 Support cooperation and partnership initiatives that promote the best interests of children on the move.


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