Why, despite massive public concern, is child trafficking on the rise? Why are unaccompanied migrant children living on the streets and routinely threatened with deportation to their countries of origin? Why do so many young refugees of war-ravaged and failed states end up warehoused in camps, victimized by the sex trade, or enlisted as child soldiers? This book provides the first comprehensive account of the widespread but neglected global phenomenon of child migration, exploring the complex challenges facing children and adolescents who move to join their families, those who are moved to be exploited, and those who move simply to survive.
Spanning several continents and drawing on the actual stories of young migrants, the book shows how difficult it is for children to reunite with parents who left them behind to seek work abroad. It looks at the often-insurmountable obstacles we place in the paths of adolescents fleeing war, exploitation, or destitution; the contradictory elements in our approach to international adoption; and the limited support we give to young people brutalized as child soldiers. Part history, part in-depth legal and political analysis, this powerful book challenges the prevailing wisdom that widespread protection failures are caused by our lack of awareness of the problems these children face, arguing instead that our societies have a deep-seated ambivalence to migrant children—one we need to address head-on.
Child Migration and Human Rights in a Global Age offers a road map for doing just that, and makes a compelling and courageous case for an international ethics of children’s human rights.
Jacqueline Bhabha is professor of the practice of health and human rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, director of research at Harvard’s François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, and the Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Lecturer at Harvard Law School. Her books include Children without a State: A Global Human Rights Challenge.
"[T]imely. . . . Bhabha goes beyond what might appear to be a specifically American crisis to situate the issue within global migration trends. . . . We have to hope that her call for a faster rate of progress will be taken up by those who are in a position to hasten it."--Don Flynn, Director of the Migrants' Rights Network
"Child Migration and Human Rights in a Global Age is a deeply thought-provoking work filled with both anecdotes and evidence that should spark reflection and debate from academics and government officials alike. For historians, particularly historians of international relations, it also presents a range of understudied subjects that are both worthy of deeper historical reflection and policy relevant."--Meredith Oyen, H-Net Reviews
"This wonderful book is the most significant study I know of that explores the implications for children’s lives both of different forms of migration and of the ways in which these migrations are framed and responded to by state authorities."--Catherine Allerton, International Affairs
"This is an important book on a much neglected subject. Not only is the massive problem of involuntary child migration in our chaotic world greatly underappreciated, but also the gigantic policy challenges involved are often wrongly perceived and widely misunderstood. We have reason to be grateful to Jacqueline Bhabha for bringing this powerfully informed, clear-headed analysis to a global problem of extreme urgency."--Amartya Sen, coauthor of An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions
Table of Contents:
PART I The Right to Respect for Family Life? Moving Children for Family 17
Chapter 1 Looking for Home: The Elusive Right to Family Life 19
Chapter 2 Staying Home: The Elusive Benefits of Child Citizenship 60
Chapter 3 Family Ambivalence: The Contested Terrain of Intercountry Adoption 96
PART II Youthful Commodities: Moving Children for Exploitation 135
Chapter 4 Targeting the Right Issue: Trafficked Children and the Human Rights Imperative 137
Chapter 5 Under the Gun: Moving Children for War 175
PART III Demanding a Future: Child Migration for Survival 201
Chapter 6 David and Goliath: Children’s Unequal Battle for Refugee Protection 203
Chapter 7 Demanding Rights and a Future: Adolescents on the Move for a Better Life 238