International migration of unaccompanied minors:trends, health risks, and legal protection

Corona Maioli, S. and Bhabha, J. and Wickramage, K. and Wood, L.C.N. and Erragne, L. and Ortega García, O. and Burgess, R. and Digidiki, V. and Aldridge, R.W. and Devakumar, D. (2021) International migration of unaccompanied minors:trends, health risks, and legal protection. The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, 5 (12). pp. 882-895.

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The global population of unaccompanied minors—children and adolescents younger than 18 years who migrate without their legal guardians—is increasing. However, as data are not systematically collected in any region, if collected at all, little is known about this diverse group of young people. Compared with adult migrants, unaccompanied minors are at greater risk of harm to their health and integrity because they do not have the protection provided by a family, which can affect their short-term and long-term health. This Review summarises evidence regarding the international migration and health of unaccompanied minors. Unaccompanied minors are entitled to protection that should follow their best interests as a primary consideration; however, detention, sometimes under the guise of protection, is a widespread practice. If these minors are provided with appropriate forms of protection, including health and psychosocial care, they can thrive and have good long-term outcomes. Instead, hostile immigration practices persist, which are not in the best interests of the child.

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Journal Article
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The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, 5, 12, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/S2352-4642(21)00194-2
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04 Jan 2022 16:30
Last Modified:
18 Sep 2023 01:59