Children on the move in Italy and Greece

Interviews with refugee and migrant children in Italy and Greece shed light on why they have left home, and why they have ended up in Europe.

A group of Gambian boys survey the ocean from the beach in Pozzallo, Sicily
UNICEF/UN020034/Gilbertson VII Photo


This joint study by UNICEF and REACH finds that refugee and migrant children on the move into Europe from Africa take the decision to leave home on their own, and that Europe may not have been their intended destination at the start of their journey. Based on interviews in Italy and Greece with 850 children aged 15 to 17, the study reveals that the systematic trauma and abuse most had witnessed or suffered in Libya caused them to flee to Europe via the terrifying Central Mediterranean sea route. The study aims to give decision makers, partners and governments evidence on what drives children to flee from their homes and countries.  

“What is striking about this study is that it shows, for the first time, that there are far more factors that push children to leave their homes than have been previously understood, and fewer pull factors that lure them to Europe,” says Afshan Khan UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia.

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