According to the report “A Deadly Journey for Children: The Central Mediterranean Migration Route”, as of September 2016, 256,000 migrants had been identified in Libya.  11% were women and 9% were children. The “Central Mediterranean Migration Route”  is one of the most dangerous journeys children can take when seeking refuge, travelling through Libya being one of the most difficult parts of it. Nevertheless, in 2016, more than 25,800 unaccompanied children took this route to be smuggled to Italy (p.3). 

With this study, UNICEF sampled 122 participants which consisted of 82 women and 40 children. Three quarters of the children interviewed experienced some type of violence by adults, almost half of the women interviewed reported sexual violence, most children and women said that they had to rely on the smugglers which made them vulnerable to abuse, abduction, and trafficking. Also, most of the children reported some type of abuse. Many children did not have access to adequate food during their journey. Women held in detention centers in Libya reported harsh conditions and most of the women and children said they spent more time in Libya to pay off their smugglers’ debt. 

The report also puts together stories of different migrants’ journeys to Libya. One of them came from a man named Timothee, who discusses the hardships he and his family had to go through: “Prior to the outbreak of the armed conflict and insecurity in the country, the two girls and the boy were enrolled in primary school and were enjoying their education with their schoolmates and teachers. The events that unfolded forced the whole family to change their plans. Suddenly, the children found themselves out of school and running for their lives with their parents. The children did not have access to education during the escape causing them to miss several years of schooling” (p. 11).  Timothee’s story shows how taking this type of journey puts everyone’s lives on pause. As a consequence, children are now behind in school and “deprived of their right to an education”. 

The report also tells the story of Kamis and Aza who are in detention in Libya. They came from Nigeria hoping for a better life but only found hardship. Kamis had aspirations to become a doctor, however, this was not possible with their lives back in Nigeria. Aza, Kamis’ mother, said: “Don’t worry. When we reach Italy, you will be a doctor” (p.9).  Anyone who makes this journey is looking for better perspectives but being put in detention in Libya acts as a roadblock to the place of opportunity.  Once again, Kamis is deprived of the right to an education.

UNICEF provides several policy recommendations concerning the Central Mediterranean Crisis, that not only applies to Libya, but also to neighboring countries, the African Union, the European Union, and international and national organizations. One of the six policy asks concerning uprooted children outlined in the report is to “Keep all refugee and migrant children learning and give them access to health and other quality services. An increased collective effort by governments, communities and the private sector is needed to provide education, health, shelter, nutrition, water and sanitation, and access to legal and psychosocial support for these children. A child’s migration status should never be a barrier to accessing essential services” (p.16).