“Girls are under-represented in our data,” explains Sarah Crowe of UNICEF, “making a small proportion of the survey respondents. But women are far more likely to be trafficked.” Crowe was recently in Sicily, where she saw a number of Nigerian girls being trafficked into Europe. 20 percent of all detected trafficking victims are girls, compared to eight percent of boys, and 72 percent of female trafficking victims have been sexually exploited.Girls are also less likely to report exploitation, making it difficult to determine the true scale of the problem. “You see how much more likely they are to be exploited in a very extreme way,” she goes on. “It’s becoming the norm for children to face these terrible risks on the route, and it’s just unacceptable.”I ask about the profile of the girls who attempt the crossing on their own. “There’s usually a greater level of protection for the girls at home,” Crowe explains. “They’re less likely to have the freedom to just leave home. Some of them are escaping forced child marriage, so the girls have a very specific experience of migration, and they’re amongst the very most vulnerable.”

Refugee Girls Traveling on Their Own Face ‘Extreme’ Abuse and Exploitation – Broadly