Nearly 50 million children worldwide have been uprooted from their homes due to violence, poverty and other factors out of their control, according to a new report released by the U.N. children’s agency, “Uprooted: The growing crisis for refugee and migrant children.”
Of that total, 28 million are child refugees who fled conflict. An additional 20 million are child migrants who left their homes in search of better lives.
Children account for more than half of all refugees fleeing conflict, the report states. Nearly half of those children come from just two countries — Syria and Afghanistan.
What’s more, the number of children fleeing alone is on the rise. In 2015, an estimated 100,000 unaccompanied children filed for asylum in 78 countries, the reports says. That’s a threefold increase over 2014.
The number of child refugees has jumped by 75% in the past five years, the report states, spurred by new and ongoing conflicts. Today, 1 of every 200 children is a refugee.
“Children on the move are at risk of the worst forms of abuse and harm and can easily fall victim to traffickers and other criminals.” said Lily Caprani, UK deputy executive director of UNICEF. Boys are more at risk of recruitment by armed groups, while girls are more vulnerable to sexual violence, the report states.