Worldwide, some 50 million migrant and refugee children (1 child in 200) have had to flee their homes to escape violent conflicts and natural disasters or in hopes of finding a better life.
A brief lexicon of passages and crossings
Migrant: A person who is moving or has moved across an international border or within a home country, regardless of whether the move is voluntary or involuntary and regardless of the length of stay.
Refugee: A person who lives outside his or her country of nationality and is unable to return because of persecution or fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
Asylum seeker: A person who has left the country where he or she was persecuted and seeks refuge in another country.
Internally displaced persons: People who have fled their homes (but not their countries) because of armed conflict, violence, natural disaster or a violation of human rights.
Uprooted: A general, non-legal term used by UNICEF to describe people who have left their place of origin for any reason. They may be migrants, refugees or internally displaced.
Undocumented: A person who does not possess identity papers or administrative documents attesting to the legality of his or her presence in a given country.
Smuggler: A person who helps illegal migrants cross a border.
Refugee camp: A temporary camp built by a government or NGO (such as the Red Cross) to house refugees. It is an artificial, urban-style humanitarian space established for a limited time following a natural disaster or political crisis. Some camps can accommodate up to several thousand people.
- Learn more about the reality of migrant children by visiting the UNICEF website.
- Suggestion: Follow the journey of Joyce and Sallieu, two young refugees, in the National Film Board documentary Everybody’s Children. (Recommended for ages 12+.)