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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Supporting materials


MAP: Refugee and Migrant Children in Greece (by region) - 25 Mar 2017 | 31 Jul 2017

Access to formal education for unaccompanied children in sheltersMay 2017

Children’s perceptions of access to services in accommodation sites in Greece - Apr 2017

Children’s perceptions of access to services outside accommodation sites in GreeceMar 2017

Access to education for off-site refugee & migrant children in GreeceMar 2017

Access to basic services for off-site refugee & migrant children in Greece - Mar 2017

Refugee and migrant children in urban sites - Greece, Thessaloniki Region - 16 Mar 2017

Refugee and migrant child population outside accommodation sites in Thessaloniki - Feb 2017

Monitoring mechanism on the rights of children on the move in Greece - Jul-Dec 2016



Review of monitoring practices implemented in UASC reception facilities in SicilyMay 2017

Situation overview: Unaccompanied and separated Eritrean children outside of the reception system in Rome May 2017

Unaccompanied and separated children in Italy - May 2017
From Egypt | From Gambia | From Guinea Conakry | From Nigeria

Unaccompanied and separated children dropping out of the primary reception system, ItalyFeb 2017

Unaccompanied and separated children in transit in Ventimiglia, ItalyFeb 2017