Many will have been caught by the authorities as they enter the country, sometimes by boat, others as they try to leave for other parts of the European Union. Yet others will have been detained by police making sweeps against migrants, such as that which took place in Patras at the start of 2008, or in action against street traders or petty criminality. A few will declare themselves through the process of applying for asylum.
These unaccompanied children are particularly vulnerable to violence, exploitation and abuse. Yet the official protection and asylum regimes fail them-migrants and asylum-seekers alike. That systemic failure is the focus of this report.
While Greek legislation recognizes, to an extent, the government's obligations to care for and protect unaccompanied migrant children, the situation on the ground is woeful.