The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child – the body of 18 independent experts that monitors implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) – has identified a number of protection gaps in the treatment of migrant children, particularly unaccompanied and separated children, as they face greater risks of, inter alia, sexual exploitation and abuse, military recruitment, child labour (including for their foster
families) and detention. They are often discriminated against and denied access to food, shelter, housing, health services and education. Unaccompanied and separated girls are at particular risk of sexually based gender violence (SBGV), including domestic violence.
In some situations, such children have no access to proper and appropriate identification, registration, age assessment, documentation, family tracing, guardianship systems or legal advice. The absence of opportunities for children to migrate safely and through regular channels leads them to embark on dangerous journeys, including through the use of smugglers, in order to reach their country of destination. Especially when unaccompanied, these children are highly vulnerable to becoming victims of violence and abuse during their migratory journeys.