in Europe

Transnational Research on Central And South Eastern European Migrant Children in Greece

Research Report

Milligan, Claire and Wagener, Tamo | Mario Project | 84 pages
File language:

This report is part of a wider initiative which seeks to identify migration patterns and
vulnerability factors that put children on the move from and within Central and South
East Europe (C/SEE) at risk. In Greece, the research focused on Albanian, Romanian
and Bulgarian children carrying out economic activities on the streets of Athens and
Thessaloniki. The methodology used included a literature review, direct outreach to these
children and their caregivers for observations and interviews with Government and civil
society stakeholders.

Albanian, Bulgarian and Romanian children working on the streets in Greece appear to be
migrating with their families for economic reasons and are mostly begging, selling small
items, playing music and collecting scrap metal. There is a higher percentage of girls than
boys amongst this population. In general, these are vulnerable families who migrate with
their children and engage in street work as a survival strategy. Nevertheless, during the
course of the research, a few suspected cases of trafficking by organized networks did

2 main groups of children on the move who engaged in economic activities on the streets
– Children who spend the very large majority of their time living and working in Greece,
and who return to their country of origin occasionally for short periods. These children
were found to be mostly Albanian.
– Children who spend more limited periods of time in Greece (usually several months)
and travel to different cities and countries depending on economic opportunities. These
children were found to be mostly Bulgarian (in greater numbers in Thessaloniki) and
Romanian (in greater numbers in Athens).

The main recommendations presented in the report include adopting a holistic child and
family centred approach and developing policies and projects on regional levels that
include mobile, child-friendly and reactive services. Services should include prevention
programmes both in origin and destination countries, which link children and families to
existing services and support their integration into society, notably schools and the labour
market. Not only will these services be beneficial to children, their families, communities
and society as a whole, but the very provision of services will enable more information to
be collected on the ever changing situation of mobile populations. The services themselves
will also benefit from the experience and opinion of children and families on the move
and thus be able to respond to their changing needs whilst also serving as preventative
interventions to ensure their full protection.