This legal note outlines the EU law rights and protections afforded to child refugees. Despite legal protections child refugees, including those arriving in the EU, are particularly vulnerable to the risk of sexual violence or gender based harm, such as trafficking and sexual exploitation. EU Member States and EU agencies are required to act in “the best interests of the child” in all decision-making processes. Various pieces of EU legislation contain special protections for child migrants but implementation of the EU’s protective legislation can be varied and inconsistent. Greater awareness of protections, stronger implementation and closer co-ordination will assist refugee children better.
Keywords: children, trafficking, refugee, protection, impunity, legislation, human rights, EU