Children now make up more than half of the world’s refugees, according to a UNICEF report, despite the fact they account for less than a third of the global population.
New and on-going global conflicts over the last five years have forced the number of child refugees to jump by 75%, the report warns, putting these children at high risk of human smuggling, trafficking and other forms of abuse.
The UNICEF report–which pulls together the latest global data regarding migration and analyses the effect it has on children–shows that globally some 50 million children have either migrated to another country or been forcibly displaced internally.
“Though many communities and people around the world have welcomed refugee and migrant children, xenophobia, discrimination, and exclusion pose serious threats to their lives and futures,” said UNICEF’s executive director, Anthony Lake. “But if young refugees are accepted and protected today, if they have the chance to learn and grow, and to develop their potential, they can be a source of stability and economic progress.”