Protecting Children

Protecting Children in the context of the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe


Children and youth migrating – whether between or within countries and whether accompanied by their relatives or not – have become a recognized part of today’s global and mixed migration flows. In fact, half of all refugees nowadays are under 18 years old. These children, often escaping traumatic circumstances such as conflict and violence, are exposed to multiple risks along the way: drowning at sea, dying of starvation or thirst or becoming a victim of trafficking in persons, kidnapping, rape or murder.

The rights of the child have been established internationally in the Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as in respective national legislative instruments. The “best interest of the child” has priority in all regulations. Nonetheless, providing adequate protection to refugee and migrant children and safeguarding their rights poses a challenge to many European Member States.

In light of the above, IOM – in cooperation with UNHCR, UNICEF and Save the Children – is implementing this project in various European Member States along and neighbouring the so-called “Western Balkans route” (Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and Hungary).

The present project has the following objectives:

  1. Preventing violence against children and ensuring respect for their rights along the migration route, at the point of entry, in hotspots, while in transit and in reception centers
  2. Supporting and strengthening integrated national child protection systems
  3. Building up capacities for child protection and national asylum/migration professionals, NGOs and others working for and with children including volunteers
  4. Collecting information on and monitoring the situation of refugee and migrant children

The IOM Country Office for Austria in cooperation with ECPAT will be offering trainings on child trafficking to potential frontline responders that come into direct contact with children (e.g. national authorities, border police, civilian-military staff, local NGOs, etc.). The overall objective is to identify, guarantee and address children’s special needs, so as to ensure that child protection standards are in place and properly applied.

Have a look at the websites of the IOM missions working together in the context of the Protecting Children project and download the information material:

Duration: 15 October 2016 – 15 April 2018



Katie Klaffenböck
01/585 33 22-46


This project is funded by the European Union.