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UNICEF: Growing Number of Asylum Seeking Children Make Sea Journey to Greece

refugeesChildren now make up more than one third of asylum seekers crossing the perilous Aegean waters from Turkey to Greece, according to UNICEF.
“Children currently account for 36 percent of those risking the treacherous sea crossing between Greece and Turkey,” UNICEF spokeswoman Sarah Crowe said. “Children and women on the move now make up nearly 60 percent,” she added.
The figures mark a significant shift since June 2015, when 73 percent of asylum seekers were adult males and only one in 10 were underage.
“The implication of this surge in the proportion of children and women on the move are enormous. It means more are at risk at sea, especially now in the winter, and more need protection on land,” said Marie Pierre Poirier, UNICEF‘s special coordinator for the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said 60 children were among the 272 who drowned while trying to sail from Turkey to Greece in January.
In addition to the dangers at sea, unaccompanied children are more at risk since they are vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and trafficking, according to Europol police agency.
More than 10,000 unaccompanied asylum seeker children have disappeared in Europe over the past two years, the European Union law enforcement agency reports.

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