Wars, conflicts, violence and the lack of educational and job opportunities are the main reasons that drive unaccompanied minors to migrate. According to a recent report by Save the Children, in the last five years more than 210,000 minors have arrived in the European continent. Without the protection of their families, these boys and girls are often at the risk of abuse, exploitation and abandonment.
In Spain, most of the minors come from Morocco and tend to be boys who arrive by sea. At the end of 2019, the Register of Unaccompanied Foreign Minors had recorded 12,417 children in care or protection services. However, the Ombudsman has denounced the inaccuracy of these figures, which differ from one institution to another.
The autonomous communities have the competence to look after and protect the minors until they turn 18 years of age. However, the reality is that these services are often saturated and unable to provide personalised attention to favour real inclusion.
The situation only gets worse when they turn 18, since by then many of these people are no longer covered by the institutional protection system. Despite the fact that a number of specific programmes exist to deal with the reality, they often end up living in the street, without having obtained the required documents, without speaking the language and thereby making it even more difficult for them to fulfil their life projects.