How can child helplines ease the burden of refugee children?

It was a pleasure to represent Child Helpline International at an important panel¹ on Violence against children on the move: from a continuum of violence to a continuum of protection, held in Mexico City. My presentation focused on how child helplines are an important actor in solving the issue!

An update from Ana


The event gathered a number of experts with different viewpoints like governmental, non-governmental and UN agencies. Most panelists focused their interventions on the Latin American region and the violence against children and young people traveling through Mexico towards the United States.

Some of the presentations included overview reports on what organizations thought as best practices or a way forward in preventing violence against children. I joined this discussion with information from child helpline members and case studies that bring out the voices of children on the move. I also introduced an update on the East Mediterranean Route and the work that the Greek child helpline – The Smile of the Child – has carried out in that context.

I finished my intervention with four recommendations (available below) on enhancing and supporting the work of the ch ild helplines so that they can provide full support to refugee and migrant children.

The dialogue during the panel focused largely on the quality of legal protection mechanisms once a child gets in governmental care, either in the transit or destination countries. We continued discussing the example focusing on child migrants in the Latin American region, where there is still room for improvement of the legal protection systems.

Many of the discussions started with the common understanding that children should be easily able to contact the government to request status and protection. And I took the opportunity to include the role of child helplines in this process too! I promoted them as a safe environment to channel resources to children and make them aware of their eligibility for protection.

Child helplines are a method to channel resources to children

I also had the pleasure of running into past co-workers from Kids in Need of Defense at the consultation (needs a bit more content here).

Everyone interested can read a bit more on the event here (text in Spanish).

Overall, the discussion was very enlightening!


¹ International Expert Consultation held at Universidad Iberoamericana, México City, June 27 and 28, 2017

Organized by: The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children (SRSG-VAC) and the Human Rights Program of the Universidad Iberoamericana (Mexico)

In close collaboration with: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)