Out of 1,015,078 migrants arrived in Europe through the Mediterranean in 2015, 300,000 are minors. In particular, the percentage of children landed in Greece (35%) is higher than that of children landing in Italy (11%), which welcomes mainly men. Among the minors landed in Italy, a significant number of them traveled alone: over 12,000 unaccompanied minors arrived in 2015, mainly coming from Eritrea (over 3,000), Egypt (1,711), Gambia and Somalia (1,300 from each country). During January 2016, 645 unaccompanied minors landed in Italy.
Up to December 31, 2015, unaccompanied minors in Italy were 11,921 (13,1% more than the number recorded in 2014). The unaccompanied minors who arrived in Italy alone and who have not submitted an application for international protection are reported to the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy and taken care of by first reception facilities (both public and private). The figures released by the Italian Ministry of Labor show a significant increase in the number of foreign unaccompanied minors in recent years.
Other minors, fleeing persecution, torture or wars, try to access international protection. Italy is the third country in Europe for the number of international protection applications made by unaccompanied minors: during 2015, 3,790 new applications for international protection of unaccompanied foreign minors were filed in Italy, while in 2014 the applications were 2,505. Overall, since 2014, there has been a significant increase (in 2013, the applications submitted were 805).
The 2015 data on missing foreign minors in Italy are particularly significant: there is no news about more than a third of the minors that had been reported to the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – namely 6,135 children. The phenomenon – that saw an increase if compared to previous years (the percentage was 23 % in 2014) – occurred especially among young Egyptians, Eritreans and Somalis. The European intelligence agency – Europol has recently reported that at least 10,000 unaccompanied minors have gone missing after their arrival in Europe, especially in Italy and Sweden (here, more than 1,000 are still missing).Many of them are believed to have fallen into the hands of smuggling organizations; others, instead, might have reached their families in other European countries.
ISMU Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Roma Tre and the University La Sapienza, with the support of Acri (associazione di Fondazioni e di Casse di Risparmio – association of Foundations and Savings Banks) organized a seminar to discuss the issue: “The unaccompanied foreign minors: acceptance and inclusion”
The seminar will take place on March 17, 2016 in Rome at the University Roma 3.