- Migration patterns
- Understanding of push and pull factors
- International and EU rights framework
Migration is currently high on the political agenda in most European countries, with the increased flow of migrants that many European Union (EU) member states have experienced in recent years. More than a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015, of which nearly 90,000 are unaccompanied minors who have applied for asylum1. Some 11,800 (13 %) were aged 13 or under. Migrants from third countries2 represent around four percent of the total EU population3. The top 10 country of origin of people applying for asylum in the EU in 2015 are Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Albania, Pakistan,Eritrea, Nigeria, Iran and Ukraine4
Many unaccompanied minors and other third country nationals find themselves trapped in their status as “irregular migrants”, with little consideration given to their vulnerability and needs as children and vulnerable adults in a foreign country. Many are denied access to adequate medical services and access to education and employment. For many migrants – men, women and children –socio-economic, political, cultural and language barriers increase the need for professionals to help provide access to basic services for their integration in European society.
The integration of migrant men, women and children is high on the policy agenda of EU. In 2011, the European Commission adopted a European Agenda for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals to enhance the economic, social and cultural benefits of migration in Europe. The Agenda puts the emphasis on migrants’ full participation in all aspects of collective life and highlights the key role of local authorities.
2Third Country National (TCN) is a term often used in the context of migration, referring to individuals who are in transit and/or applying for visas in countries that are not their country of origin (i.e. country of transit), in order to go to destination countries that is likewise not their country of origin. In the European Union, the term is often used, together with “foreign national” and “non-EU foreign national”, to refer to individuals who are neither from the EU country in which they are currently living or staying, nor from other member states of the European Union
According to the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström: “Successful integration implies that migrants are given the opportunity to participate fully in their new communities. Learning the language of the receiving country, getting access to employment and education and having the socio-economic capacity to support themselves are crucial elements for a successful integration. To date, integration of migrants in Europe has not been very successful. We must all do more – for the sake of the people coming here, but also since well-integrated migrants are an asset for the EU, as they enrich our societies culturally and economically.” 5
This renewed European Agenda for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals is a contribution to the debate on how to understand and better support integration. A diversity of approaches is called for, depending on the different integration challenges faced by various types of migrants, both low and highly skilled, as well as beneficiaries of international protection, which include victims of trafficking, unaccompanied minors and those seeking refugee status in the EU countries. Although the European
Union has a number of mechanisms for protecting the rights specific to children and vulnerable young adults, many young people are not aware of the existence of any specific services and resources they can access, beyond family, friends or teachers, if they are in difficulty. In order to assist and support the integration of vulnerable adults and children, it is essential that front-line professionals in contact with vulnerable adults and children are adequately trained on identification of vulnerable people and on technical skills, including child-friendly interviewing techniques, communication with children and young adults, cultural awareness, equality and anti-discrimination legislation, and the rights and aspirations of third country nationals (TCNs), refugees and child victims of trafficking.
Understanding the push factors of migration and human trafficking of third country nationals
Migration of children, women and men is a global and complex phenomenon. The reasons for TCNs arriving in Europe are diverse and include several interrelated and overlapping factors, including poverty, inequality, political conflict, economic insecurity, limited access to basic services such as education and health, and systemic social welfare and child protection deficits in their respective countries of origin. A combination or subset of these factors contribute often to the “forced movement” of children, families and communities from their homelands to countries where they believe they will have a better chance of survival and improved opportunities to make life better for themselves and their families.
Responsibilities to safeguard and protect children
Many nations and EU member states are failing in their responsibility to protect children and vulnerable adults and failing in their responsibility to provide access to education, health, labour market and justice, thereby driving the movement of people in the hope of breaking the cycle of their vulnerability. The failure to respect migrant rights to protection and denying access to basic services increases the risks of trafficking, re-trafficking, unemployment and exploitation in employment. Education remains an indispensable tool for integration, providing children and young adults with the right skills and knowledge to help them achieve their aspirations and participate fully in the community and its economic, social, political and cultural life. Nations have a responsibility and a duty to ensure every child’s right to education.
There are significant differences both in employment participation rates and unemployment rates between non-EU citizen migrants and each country’s national population and mobile EU citizens. During the last eight years, citizens of non-EU countries have recorded systematically lower activity rates than nationals and mobile foreign EU citizens. The unemployment rate of non-EU citizens remains 10 percentage points higher than that of the nationals6.
The youth employment rates of EU native-born young people were higher than those of the non-EU-born population in 15 EU Member States. The difference was highest in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden and Austria. The young population has been significantly affected by unemployment over the eight years between 2007 and 2014 (11.9 % in 2007 compared with 17.1 % in 2014 for the native-born population), with the non-EU-born young population showing the largest increase in unemployment (15.4 % in 2007 compared with 28.0 % in 2014).7 In 2014, one in five (19.9%) non-EU nationals in the EU were unemployed. At country level, in 2014, youth unemployment for the non-EU-born population aged 15–29 has increased by 12.6 percent between 2007 and 2014. Long-term unemployment, as a percentage of total unemployment, has increased for the non-EU-born population from 28.7 % in 2009 to 52.0 % in 2014, after a period of decrease from 2007 to 2009.
The European Union and children’s rights
The EU agenda for the rights of the child, adopted in 2011, presents a plan to strengthen and protect children’s rights as set out in the principles of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The agenda states that children’s rights should be an integral part of EU policy making and that vulnerable children need protection whether they are disabled, at risk of poverty, victims of sexual exploitation or trafficking, seeking asylum or are on their own. Advice should be provided by experienced and well-trained professionals who can help children handle the trauma they have experienced and understand the rights and needs of the different age groups.8
Rights under the UNCRC
The UNCRC is the most complete statement of children’s rights and has been ratified by all EU member states, the most widely-ratified international human rights treaty. The Convention has 54 articles covering all aspects of a child’s life and sets out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights to which all children everywhere are entitled. It also explains how adults and governments must
work together to make sure all children can enjoy all their rights, without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status. The rights apply to everyone under the age of 18.
Key rights include:
- The best interests of the child (Article 3) The best interests of the child must be the primary concern in making decisions and taking actions, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies that affect children.
- The right to education (Article 28) Every child has the right to an education. Primary education must be free. Secondary education must be available to every child. Discipline in schools must respect children’s dignity. Richer countries must help poorer countries achieve this.
- Respect for the views of the child (Right to be heard) (Article 12) Every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously. This right applies at all times, for example during immigration proceedings, housing decisions or the child’s day-to-day home life.
- Rights of refugee children (Article 22) If a child is a refugee or seeking refuge, governments must provide them with appropriate protection and assistance to help them enjoy all the rights in the Convention. Governments must help refugee children who are separated from their parents to be reunited with them.
Directive on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Protecting its Victims
The European Union has taken several steps over the past ten years towards combating trafficking in human beings through the adoption of several legal instruments. The EU Directive 2011/36/EU) sets out minimum standards to be applied throughout the European Union in preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting victims. Member States are required to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by 6 April 2013.
Its main elements are:
- Definition of offences of human trafficking – The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or reception of persons by force for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation includes as a minimum: (i) sexual exploitation or prostitution; (ii) forced labour or services (including begging, slavery, exploitation of criminal activities or the removal of organs).
- Non-prosecution and non-punishment provision for all victims of trafficking
- Support for victims – Victims receive assistance before, during and after criminal proceedings so that they can exercise the rights conferred on them under the status of victims in criminal proceedings. This assistance may consist of the reception in shelters, or the provision of medical and psychological assistance and information services and interpretation.
- Additional measures – Children and teenagers (under 18) enjoy additional measures such as physical and psychosocial support, access to education and, where applicable, the possibility to appoint a guardian or representative. They should be interviewed immediately in suitable premises and by skilled professionals.
- Rights to protection – Victims have the right to police protection and legal assistance to enable them to claim compensation.
Rights of asylum seekers
In 2013, the European Union set out the common standards of conditions of living of asylum applicants that guarantee them a dignified standard of living.
The Reception Conditions Directive 2013/33/EU lays down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection. Under the directive, access to employment for an asylum seeker must now be granted within a maximum period of 9 months. The directive ensures that applicants have access to housing, food, health care and employment, as well as medical and psychological care, and aims to ensure better as well as more harmonised standards of reception conditions throughout the Union, by adopting detailed common rules on the issue of detention of asylum seekers, ensuring that their fundamental rights are fully respected, including:
- Access to education (Article 14) , vocational training (Article 15) and employment (Article 16)
- Restricting the detention of vulnerable persons, in particular minors
- Access to free legal assistance and information in writing when lodging an appeal against a detention order
- 4.Specific reception conditions for detention facilities, such as communication with lawyers, NGOs and family members
- The obligation to conduct an individual assessment in order to identify the special reception needs of vulnerable persons
- Particular attention given to unaccompanied minors and victims of torture, ensuring that vulnerable asylum seekers can also access psychological support
- Rules on the qualifications of the representatives for unaccompanied minors
This training manual is designed to be used by those who come into contact with vulnerable migrants. It aims to promote good practice in the identification and prevention of abuse and exploitation, including human trafficking, female genital mutilation and forced labour, whilst equipping those who use it with basic training skills. The exercises are developed from the lessons learnt and experience of ECPAT trainers. It is designed to be adapted and delivered easily without the need for extensive resources.
This manual is aimed at identifying people entering or living in a country where they were not born who are vulnerable to exploitation. It is important here to define which people we are targeting through this manual. These are short definitions which are explored further throughout the manual.
Asylum Seeker is someone who is fleeing persecution and has lodged an application for protection on the basis of the Refugee Convention or Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, ECHR. http://rightsinfo.org/the-rights-in-the-european-convention/
Human Trafficking is the movement or harbouring of a person, through the use of force or coercion for the purpose of exploitation, typically for work, sexual exploitation, criminal purposes or organ removal.
For the full definition, refer to: UN Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, 2006. https://ec.europa.eu/anti-trafficking/legislation-and-case-law-international-legislation-united-nations/united-nations-protocol-prevent_en
Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are people or groups of individuals who have been forced to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of, or in order to avoid the effects of, armed conflict, situations of generalised violence, violations of human rights or natural or man-made disasters, and who have not crossed an international border.
Refugee is a person who ‘owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.’ (Definition quoted from the 1951 Refugee Convention) http://www.unhcr.org/uk/1951-refugee-convention.html
Third Country National (TCN) refers to individuals who are in transit and/or applying for visas in countries that are not their country of origin (i.e. country of transit), in order to go to destination countries that is likewise not their country of origin.