1. Various shots, Daoussiya singing in car
2. Wide shot, truck loaded with people in
3. Various shots, migrants women and children in a tent in Agadez
4. Various shots, Daoussiya arriving her village, hugging her mother
5. SOUNDBITE Hassana, Daoussiya’s mother:
“I had her in my heart. I spent all my time thinking of her.”
6. Close up, Hassana, Daoussiya and her little brother in their house
7.SOUNDBITE Hassana, Daoussiya’s mother:
“Now I will only think of what to make her for dinner. Just our traditional soup, with no meat.”


An increasing number of migrant children are being returned to Niger as countries across Europe and North Africa seek to curtail irregular migration.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned on Friday (8 Jun) that there are insufficient cross-border mechanisms to protect these children from the many risks they face: trafficking, violence, abuse, exploitation and detention.

The seven years old Daoussiya returned to her village in Niger after begging on streets for four months in Algeria.

SOUNDBITE (Local Language) Hassana, Daoussiya’s mother:
“I had her in my heart. I spent all my time thinking of her.”

SOUNDBITE (Local Language) Hassana, Daoussiya’s mother:
“Now I will only think of what to make her for dinner. Just our traditional soup, with no meat.”

According to UNICEF, since November last year, more than 8,000 West Africans, including 2,000 children, have been returned to Niger from Algeria, while another 900 registered refugees and asylum seekers from countries in East Africa have been transferred to Niger for processing from Libya. At the same time, migrant flows into Niger continue.

In April alone there was an increase of 14 per cent over the previous month in people transiting through Niger – a rate of nearly 500 a day with around a third being children, most of whom are exhausted and been exposed to violence, or left without adequate support and protection. The true figure is likely to be higher as many children go undetected or hide.

With government negotiations on the Global Compacts for Migration and Refugees currently underway, the UN children’s agency is calling for solutions to keep children safe. This means enhancing cross-border cooperation between countries to better protect children on the move, the implementation of child-sensitive border management policies, and providing children with access to essential services like shelter, protection, education and training. It also means urgently addressing the root causes of irregular child migration including poverty, lack of education opportunities or violence.

The Global Compacts present a unique chance to review migration policies and practices that leave children vulnerable and replicate those that contribute to keeping children safe.

UNICEF teams recently met several women and children, including a newborn baby and nursing mothers who had been stranded in Niger alongside large numbers of men from Guinea, Liberia, Cameroon, Sudan and Eritrea. Many, including children, had travelled partly by foot in the scorching heat with no shelter or water.

UNICEF is working to reunite separated families, keep children learning, and ensure they benefit from basic social services. Together with UNHCR and IOM, UNICEF is working with the authorities in Niger to help reunify children with their families in Niger and support assessments for their resettlement in third countries – particularly those from Eritrea and Somalia who have been evacuated from Libya.

UNICEF is also helping children in transition and orientation centers managed by the Niamey Directorate of Child Protection, working to get them urgent psychosocial support to deal with the trauma of their difficult journeys.

In the coming months, UNICEF is due to set up one-stop social welfare hubs that provide protective services for children. These one-stop hubs will support unaccompanied or separated children and vulnerable families on the move, offering basic household items, health and referral services, as well as assistance to restore and maintain contact with family members.

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