A young migrant in his bedroom | Photo: Archive ANSA/ Oxfam press office
A young migrant in his bedroom | Photo: Archive ANSA/ Oxfam press office

There are significantly fewer foreign unaccompanied in Italy right now, compared to 2018 and 2017, according to UNICEF. However, the number of untraceable children and adolescents has remained constant, at more than 5,300 in 2019.

How many underage migrants and refugees are living in Italy without their families? The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) just released the latest figures on this on Wednesday, on International Migrants Day. More than 6,300 foreign unaccompanied minors were in Italy as of November 30, 2019. A year before that, that number was almost twice as high - there were almost 11,300 unaccompanied minors in Italy in late November 2018. A year before that, in 2017, the number was even higher -- 18,500. 

Fewer migrant children and teens arrived by sea

There were also fewer unaccompanied minors who arrived by sea this year -- about 1,500 unaccompanied minors disembarked on Italian shores in 2019, compared to more than 3,500 in 2018 and over 15,700 in 2017.

However, the number of untraceable children and minors remained constant, with more than 5,300 in 2019. 

Over 70,000 unaccompanied minors in five years

Between 2014 and 2018, over 70,000 unaccompanied minors arrived in Italy, according to UNICEF. 

During the same time period, 17,000 people died at sea, 670 of whom were minors and died on the Central Mediterranean route -- trying to reach Italy or Malta. 

Half of young migrants don't know their rights 

In Italy, a minor is anyone under the age of 18. 

A recent survey reveals that half of young migrants and refugees don't know their rights as minors. The survey was conducted by U-Report on the Move, an online platform launched by UNICEF in 2017 to give a voice to young unaccompanied minors to Italy. Six out of ten minors said they had never heard of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and 25% said they didn't know they should be heard in the decisions that concern them.

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