The majority of children who have migrated to Europe alone have done so escaping violence and trauma in their countries rather than with the goal of reaching Europe, UNICEF revealed today.
A new study of the factors that prompted thousands of children to leave their homes and migrate away has shown that about 75 per cent of migrant children have decided to leave without their parents or relatives
UNICEF spokeswoman Sarah Crow told reporters in Geneva.
"The surprising thing about the new study is that the push factors that drive children away from their homes, the conflict and violence in their countries, were far more than the attractions that attract them to Europe," she further added.
This indicates that they are more willing to undertake the often dangerous routes away from their war-torn or famished countries in an effort to save their lives rather than through a desire to reach Europe.
A total of 12,239 children arrived in Italy during the first six months of 2017, with 93 per cent of them travelling alone without their parents, according to UNICEF figures.
Yesterday, 13 bodies, including those of pregnant women, were discovered off the coast of Libya. The refugees and migrants had drowned trying to reach Italy.
"We have found 167 people drifting," Proactiva Open Arms, a Spanish NGO involved in rescues in the Mediterranean said, further adding that "several pregnant women and mothers" were among an initial dead count of 11.
The Italian coastguard confirmed the deaths and reported that the worsening weather conditions at sea means that traffickers are unlikely to continue driving out boats of people in the Mediterranean when they are likely to drown soon after leaving.
Around 94,000 people have been rescued to Italy so far this year- an increase by five per cent compared to last year – according to Italy's interior ministry. Around 2,370 people have died attempting the perilous journey, the UN refugee agency confirmed.
Italy has maintained that it will continue its rescue operations at sea, but Rome has called on fellow European states to help deal with the large numbers of refugees and migrants that reach Italy's shores seeking shelter.