They’re making the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea by the thousands—sometimes with relatives, sometimes in a group of friends, sometimes alone. And as the world saw with the tragic drowning death of three-year-old toddler Alan Kurdi last September, too many refugee children don’t survive the trip.
More than one-third of those fleeing war and sectarian violence and seeking refuge in Europe are children, according to UNICEF. Those kids that do make it to European soil are often housed for weeks in camps and centers—or they make their way across the continent by train or by foot, hoping to be reunited with loved ones. “These unaccompanied and separate children are extremely vulnerable to being abused, trafficked, smuggled, and preyed upon by smugglers,” Sarah Crowe, the crisis communications chief for UNICEF, told TakePart in a phone interview last week.
FULL COVERAGE: The Global Refugee Crisis
Education activist Malala Yousafzai warned in late January that if world leaders did not step up to aid and educate these kids, society will soon have a “lost generation” on its hands. As the photos here from UNICEF show, these innocent children deserve better.