Refugee children, coming to Europe, are at risk of becoming victims of violence, trafficking and abuse – including those living in refugee accommodation, says child rights organisation Plan International Ireland.
10,000 children, according to Europol, have gone missing in the past year alone. Many are feared to have fallen into the hands of organised trafficking syndicates. David Dalton, CEO of Plan International Ireland said:
Children who have experienced the breakdown of everything familiar to them need special protection.
“Founded during the chaos of the Spanish Civil War, to protect orphaned or abandoned children, Plan International, over the past 80 years, has shifted its focus to Africa, Asia and Latin America. However, the ongoing refugee crisis has now forced Plan International to go back to its roots in Europe,” added David.
“Plan International is committed to protecting the rights of children, no matter where they are. That’s why, in conjunction with St. John’s ambulance in Germany, we are providing child protection training in a large refugee centre in Hamburg.”
We know children and women in refugee centres are unfortunately not safe against abuse and sexual violence. There are unscrupulous adults who are all too willing to kidnap children and use them for financial gain.
“This is why we need to make sure they are protected in the facilities. Following potentially months of dangerous travel, children, and in particular girls, need to be able to sleep safely at night knowing that they won’t be victims of abuse.”
“Our child protection standards for children in emergencies are being implemented throughout the world. From humanitarian crises in Haiti, to the Philippines, to Nepal last year, child protection has been at the centre of how we respond to crises.”
Building on our experience in past crises, we’re rolling out activities such as child-protection training, psycho-social counselling and creating safe spaces where children can play, and parents can be confident, that their children are safe.
This new programme which is being piloted in the Hamburg-Stellingen reception centre will be rolled out across other reception centres over the next weeks and months to ensure every refugee child entering Germany is living in a safe space.