UNITED NATIONS — The number of children traveling by themselves among documented refugees and migrants has nearly quintupled to the highest on record, and many of them are at risk from smugglers, sex traffickers and other predators, the United Nations said in a report published on Wednesday.
The report said the findings amounted to an alarming international lapse in providing basic safety and security for the world’s most vulnerable people.
“One child moving alone is one too many, and yet today, there are a staggering number of children doing just that,” said Justin Forsyth, the deputy executive director of Unicef. “We as adults are failing to protect them.”
At least 300,000 unaccompanied and separated children were recorded in 80 countries in 2015 and 2016 combined, compared with 66,000 in 2010 and 2011, the report said.