Perhaps the most common theme in our discussion has been the need to include children’s direct experience in efforts to gather evidence on child migration. Too often only the most shocking stories of migrating children come to our notice. Ali and Zafar (their names have been changed) are unaccompanied adolescents who narrate their experiences after leaving their homes in search of peace and security.
Although their stories of violence, family separation, exhaustion and exploitation along the way are not so unusual, by listening closely you can pick up numerous traumas, each of which on its own could potentially derail a child’s development. One in three migrants is a child. This includes a large number of unaccompanied adolescents. Many are boys aged between 14 and 17, sometimes traveling with groups of other teenagers, sometimes with an adult, sometimes not.
At the time of these interviews Ali and Zafar did not know their legal status nor what their future would hold, so their identities have been protected.
Special Note: When children are involved in research, measures should be taken to ensure their rights are fully protected. For more details on ethical research involving children in humanitarian situations read our recent publication: What we know about ethical research involving children in humanitarian settings