Alone, afraid and vulnerable to exploitation

In just one year, over 112,000 children arrived alone at UNHCR's refugee camps and reception centres. Most have been orphaned, lost or left behind in the chaos of conflict.

Without parents looking after them, refugee children become extremely vulnerable to trafficking and other forms of abuse. In Germany alone, some 9,000 refugee children are believed to have disappeared in just six months.

With your support, UNHCR protection officers ensure that children on their own have:

  • Child-friendly accommodation
  • Trained staff to care for them
  • Nutritious food
  • Medical care and counselling
  • Access to education

The incredible true story of one South Sudanese girl's journey from a war zone to safety

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Your donations in action

Yasin tells UNHCR staff of his dreams to attend school and become an engineer

 

Orphaned boys in their dormintory in Homs, Syria

 

Children enjoy the safe play space at a family centre in Saan’a, Yemen

 

Ramatou is reunited with two of her sons in a refugee camp in Cameroon

 

Get the facts about our impact

Protection Protection Protection
Reuniting Families Reuniting Families Reuniting Families
Safe Places Safe Places Safe Places
Counselling Counselling Counselling

Providing Protection

People fleeing war, disaster or persecution can be very vulnerable. UNHCR supplies displaced people with essential items, food and shelter to protect them from having to make dangerous decisions to survive. On a larger scale, UNHCR negotiates safe passage, asylum spaces and humanitarian access, upholding the rights of refugees and minimising the threat of violence, including sexual assault.

Reuniting Families

Families often become separated during forced displacement and flight. UNHCR makes use of registration data to locate separated family members and reunite them where possible. UNHCR also works with its partners to share information between refugee sites and provide safe accommodation and psychosocial support for unaccompanied and separated children.

Providing Safe Places

UNHCR operates safe spaces for the most vulnerable refugees. Children travelling alone are given special support and safe accommodation while UNHCR staff search for their relatives or carers. Throughout Europe, UNHCR works with UNICEF to operate ‘blue dot’ hubs for child and family support, providing child services, play areas and counselling. For displaced girls, safe spaces in refugee camps are essential for preventing abuse and exploitation. LGBTI refugees are also offered safe spaces to protect them from harm and discrimination.

Providing Counselling

Displacement due to armed conflict, persecution, or disaster puts significant psychological and social stress on individuals, families and communities. UNHCR provides counselling to refugee populations to address trauma arising from displacement. These services are particularly vital for survivors of torture and of sexual and gender-based violence.

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