Over 1,200 migrant child deaths recorded since 2014 – real number likely much higher

More than 1,200 migrant children died since 2014 as recorded by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), nearly half of whom perished while attempting to cross the Mediterranean.

IOM said that the true scale of these tragedies is unknown due to a severe lack of data.

“The real figure is likely to be much higher, given that approximately 12.5 percent of all migrants are under the age of 18, and the number of children migrating around the world has been increasing in recent years,” a recent IOM press release stated. “For example, roughly one quarter of the approximately one million migrants who arrived by sea to Italy and Greece in 2015 were children, and, in the case of Italy, 72 percent were unaccompanied.”

The exact age of only 21 percent of the victims is known with 58 infants under the age of 1 and 67 children aged 1 to 5 years old having perished.

Drowning has been identified as the main cause of death of migrant children and most of the 681 recorded child deaths occurred while crossing the Mediterranean Sea or the Bay of Bengal.

Car accidents, suffocation during road transportation, exposure to harsh environments, violence and illness are also leading causes of children’s deaths during migration.

Recently, four children were killed in Libya after a smuggler’s truck crammed with more than 200 migrants flipped over near the Libyan town of Bani Walid.

TMP – 02/03/2018

Photo credit: IOM . An African child migrant is seen being rescued at sea.

Email us if you have a question about migration

Send us an email with your question and one of our staff will get back to you. All emails are treated in confidence.

The world is on the move

Millions of people are migrating right now, and most of them are facing the harsh realities of what migration means in the 21st century.

We provide facts and current news on migration in multiple languages that is easily understandable and accessible to migrants.

Learn More