Refugee Children © Sebastian Kahnert
Vatican and Catholic aid agencies call for more protection for refugee minors. Children and especially unaccompanied minors would need safe and legal entry routes to protect themselves from trafficking and abuse.
According to a joint statement ied Thursday. In addition to protecting children, governments should also guarantee their right to seek and receive asylum. The appeal is supported by the umbrella organization Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican human rights agency, Pax Christi International, the Jesuit Refugee Service and other organizations.
Francis backs cause
Pope Francis backed the cause. At an audience for members of Caritas Internationalis on Thursday, he praised the "prophetic courage" to fight exploitation and degradation and to work for a better welcome for migrants. At the same time, Francis stressed Caritas agencies should also work for development and peace in refugees' countries of origin.
Easy prey for human traffickers
In their statement, the aid agencies pointed out that unaccompanied refugee minors are "virtually invisible" and thus become easy prey for traffickers. Fates threatened include recruitment to militias or criminal organizations, illegal organ harvesting, sexual exploitation, child labor or forced marriages. 68 percent of all trafficking victims are minors, he said. According to Europol estimates, in the past two years 10.000 underage migrants disappeared after arriving and registering in Europe.
Appeal on the occasion of the World Day of the Rights of the Child
According to a recent study by children's charity Unicef, one in every 200 children worldwide is growing. Child as refugee on. Of 31 million children living outside their country of birth, 11 million had been forcibly displaced, he said. The Catholic organizations disseminated their appeal on the occasion of the World Day for the Rights of the Child, which was celebrated on Sunday (20. November) is celebrated.