Migrating alone: Unaccompanied and separated children's migration to Europe
Author(s): A. Orgocka
Although fieldwork conducted by non-governmental organisations shows that Albanian children leave their parents behind to work abroad and help with the household survival, the phenomenon has received scant attention in research. This chapter reports findings from a quantitative survey conducted February-March 2006 in four border districts of Albania with close to 805 rural children from 6 to 18 years old. The descriptive analysis conducted across age groups and gender seeks to comment on three issues: 1. Perceived extent of the phenomenon of child migration from the rural northeast; 2. Children's own attempts to emigrate; 3. Children's intention to leave Albania and the modalities of this decision. Findings show that a significant number of children know of other children (predominantly males in the age group of 15-17 years old) who have migrated primarily to the UK, Italy and Greece. Other children themselves had tried to migrate seasonally. Migration was linked to children's belief that they have a responsibility to bring income for the family. The decision to leave was a family affair; not only would children discuss their decision to migrate with their family, but the majority were convinced that their parents would give money to a relative to help with the migration of the child. The chapter then discusses programmatic implications for applied work in the field of child migration. This is a chapter in a forthcoming book edited by J. Kanics, D. Senovilla Hernandez, & K. Touzenis.