The journey: risks, opportunities and coping responses

Foto di MAMADOU TRAORE da Pixabay

This study found that many girls were unaware of the full extent of the risks and dangers involved in migration. This lack of information regarding risks is in line with existing research, including a 2017 study by UNICEF and REACH conducted with 850 refugee and migrant children in Italy and Greece, which found that less than half of children surveyed considered the risks they might face in their journey before migrating.45

Across North Africa and southern Europe, girls travelled in a variety of ways and employed different strategies to cross borders. While it may not be reflective of actual flows,46 a majority of those we spoke with in Europe who had crossed the Mediterranean Sea without adequate documentation or visas relied on the support of a smuggler or adult guide to help them. By contrast, many girls travelling in and through Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia had initially travelled to these countries and entered them regularly, notably because of short-term visa-free policies and visa exemptions47 – they then overstayed.

Their trips varied considerably in length, ranging anywhere from several days to more than five years. Routes also varied extensively, with girls often crossing through several countries along the way. For most, the trip was extremely dangerous with threats to their safety. The risks they faced include sexual and gender-based violence, physical attacks or abuse, financial difficulties (running out of money, robbery), detention and arrest, police brutality, lack of shelter, labor exploitation or trafficking, and traversing harsh terrains – such as the desert – or the sea, with exposure to hunger, dehydration, injury, and death.

from: “Girls on the move in North Africa” (SAVE THE CHILDREN)

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Sexual and gender-based violence