The phenomenon of immigration in general has become one of the most worrisome issues on the international scene. It is one of the most unsettling questions for politicians in international relations, especially on the two sides of the Mediterranean.
The rapid changes and developments of the forms and dynamics of immigration have put this issue under the spotlight, in recent decades, in various academic studies and international meetings, thus becoming the subject of attention of many governmental institutions and civil society associations, and the core of numerous bilateral and multilateral agreements between different countries.
This wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the economic, political and social developments taking place in the world, and which are associated with the globalization of economy, politics and culture in the framework of the so-called “new world order”. All these factors have accelerated the flow of illegal immigrants in the current stage from the impoverished and marginalized southern shore, to the North countries that offer abundant job opportunities and decent living conditions.
The immigration of minors to Europe is part of this phenomenon that has become today’s biggest issue. Although it had emerged in the early nineties of the last century, the immigration of minors resulted from the same general causes of illegal immigration that incite many young Maghreb people to attempt crossing the sea in death boats. However, the immigration of teenagers in particular must be addressed from a special perspective, because there are other factors that contribute to its increase, such as the development of migration and displacement mafias, the dominance of attractive images promoted by some of the returning migrants from foreign countries, as well as the media outlets that contribute to the creation of economic models.
This reality imposes on everyone the need to find possible alternatives and prospects based on the approaches of prevention and treatment, as well as an international participatory approach.
It is well known that children mirror the circumstances in which they’re born. If poverty, marginalization and deprivation are prevalent, as is the case for those immigrants, they will certainly become an easy prey for deceit, human traffickers, mafias and smuggling gangs.
For the inhabitants of marginalized neighborhoods and remote villages that experience daily displacements to urban sites, children are more prone to marginalization, deprivation and poverty due to the lack of employment opportunities for their parents. In these circumstances, kids grow in an atmosphere filled with anger, as their parents are unable to provide them with a living due to the limited possibilities.
The educational level of both parents is critical for the status of children, so the widespread illiteracy in the slums and remote villages is a second reason that leads to not educating kids and to their under-performance at school. Such circumstances push children to look for work at an early age, either with their parents in the non-structured sector, or elsewhere; thus becoming subject to the exploitation of employers offering meager insufficient wages, or no wages at all.
Besides these factors, there is the unemployment of university graduates, drugs and humans smuggling associated with moral and sexual corruption, the overcrowding in the classrooms, the inability of parents to afford the high prices of school textbooks, and the privatization of productive social sectors such as employment, education, transport, health and housing, which means the State’s inability to cover the expenses of social security, and depriving the kids of working classes from withstanding these circumstances.
Therefore, those minors feel that they are concerned with solving the problems of their parents, who are no longer able to provide them with a living, due to the lack of job opportunities and the poor health supervision. All these factors combined incite a number of minors to go to ports in order to sneak into the buses heading to Europe through ships, and through death boats, in the hope of finding job opportunities that would save a lot of individuals from these hardships.
Civil society must fulfill its role, and the State, with its various organs, should bear its responsibility in this regard to solve the economic and social problems of the families of these children, instead of deterring them in a coercive manner, because that will not reduce the problem at all.
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