Fatal Journeys Volume 4: Missing Migrant Children

Fatal Journeys Volume 4 focuses on a special theme – missing migrant children – given the growing number of children embarking on journeys that are dangerous and often fatal.  Since 2014, IOM has documented more than 32,000 deaths and disappearances during the migration journey worldwide, although the true number of migrant fatalities is unknown, as many deaths go unrecorded. Data on deaths and disappearances of missing migrant children tend to be even more limited. According to IOM’s Missing Migrants Project, nearly 1,600 children have been reported dead or missing since 2014.

This report discusses why it is often difficult to find data on missing migrants disaggregated by age. It explores what measures could be taken to improve data on missing migrant children, to help improve policy options and to prevent these tragedies from occurring. The report is a contribution to the joint efforts of UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM, Eurostat and OECD to improve data on migrant and refugee children. Without better data on missing migrants, any policy understanding of children’s migration journeys and the risks and vulnerabilities they face will remain incomplete.

Table of contents: 
  • Acknowledgements
  • List of figures and text boxes
  • Executive summary
  • Introduction by Julia Black
  • Chapter 1: Missing Migrants Project data: A global overview by Marta Sánchez Dionis and Kate Dearden
  • Chapter 2: Vulnerabilities of migrant and forcibly displaced children by Claus Bech Hansen, Jan Beise and Danzhen You
  • Chapter 3: Legal obligations of States with regard to child migrant deaths and disappearances by Jacqueline Bhabha
  • Chapter 4: Ethical considerations surrounding research on missing migrant children by Samuel Okyere
  • ​Chapter 5: Conclusion: Taking stock of a complex issue – the next steps by Ann Singleton
  • Annex 1: The Mytilini Declaration for the Dignified Treatment of all Missing and Deceased Persons and their Families
Available in Spanish, French

Regions in focus




Missing Migrants Project by International Organization for Migration (IOM) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. This means that Missing Migrants Project data and website content is free to share and adapt, as long as the appropriate attribution is given.


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IOM's Missing Migrants Project is made possible by funding by the Government of Germany, UK Aid from the Government of the United Kingdom and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs; however, the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of the Governments of Germany, the United Kingdom or Switzerland.