Alone and Unsafe: Children, migration and sexual and gender-based violence (BRIDGE and ChildHub Webinar)

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Date of webinar: 
19 Feb 2020
Start and finish time of webinar: 
15:30 CET
Mr. Gurvinder Singh

Gurvinder is the IFRC’s Senior Child Protection Advisor.

He partners with Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies around the world to strengthen local child protection programs, integrate child protection standards into emergency, migration and health programming. He is responsible for developing the IFRC’s guidelines, advocacy initiatives, and tools for implementing quality child protection programming. He regularly deploys to emergency and hard-to-access locations to support programming.   

Gurvinder is based in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has worked with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement for 20 years as a local responder, as a national coordinator, as an international delegate, and for the IFRC as a global advisor. He has a Master’s degree in human security and peacebuilding from Royal Roads University. He has a BA in social geography from Simon Fraser University.

This webinar is being organized as part of the regional project "Building Relationships through Innovative Development of Gender-Based Violence Awareness in Europe - BRIDGE" which has the aim to strengthen the statutory response to gender-based violence (GBV) affecting children and youth on the move in EU countries.


The BRIDGE project is supported by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020).

A series of webinars are being organized as part of the BRIDGE project to discuss issues of GBV and share good practices.


About the webinar:

Protracted violent conflicts, devastating climate events, entrenched economic inequality, relentless persecution and crime, and other complex problems with no easy solutions drive millions of people every year to go in search of a safer and more dignified life. Among them are children, some with their families, but many without.

These children face harrowing journeys and risk unspeakable suffering.

The number of children on the move, including those traveling alone, has grown substantially and alarmingly in the past decade. In 2017, it was estimated that at least 300,000 unaccompanied and separated child migrants were in transit in 80 countries – a five-fold increase from five years earlier. The number of children migrating alone worldwide right now is likely much higher.

In 2017, 60 per cent of the children who arrived in Greece, Italy, Spain and Bulgaria following dangerous and life-threatening journeys were unaccompanied or separated, nearly double the figure reported in 2016 - another staggering increase, providing a hint at the scale and scope of the problem.

Children on the move are easy prey for abusers, exploiters and traffickers and their vulnerability puts them at high risk of sexual and gender-based violence at every stage of their migratory path. When children are in transit alone, they are at very high risk of being assaulted, sexually abused, raped, trafficked into sexual exploitation or forced into "survival sex".

This session will review the IFRC's study "Alone and Unsafe" that seeks to improve understanding of the risks and types of sexual and gender-based violence faced by children who migrate on their own, as well as the unfortunate and widespread gaps in protection and assistance for these children. It looks closely at the situation in dangerous or remote locations – places that are fragile, conflict-ridden, underserved and hard to reach, where children may be particularly vulnerable.


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