Violence, hunger and the hope of a better future are all major factors for girls leaving home countries in search of a better life, a new global study across three continents has found.

Beysan, elf, aus dem Nordosten Syriens gehört zu den Tausenden Mädchen, die derzeit auf der Flucht sind.

Among the findings are:

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Domestic violence Domestic violence, and other forms of gender-based violence, were often the main push factor for many of the girls who left Zambia and Mozambique for South Africa. The majority of the girls said they wanted a better future, through education or work.

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Gender-based violence For girls migrating from the Middle East to the Balkans, conflict was the main reason. However, risks of gender-based violence also fuelled migration. Forced marriages, domestic violence and not being able to give their daughters an education, were all factors contributing to families with daughters deciding to leave.

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Malnutrition Girls who left Venezuela for Colombia cited eating three meals a day as the positive outcome for their move. In their home country, 28 per cent of the pregnant girls and women suffer from acute malnutrition.

The study summarised in the report Girls on the Move, which took place in three continents, listed key motivations and outcomes among girls aged 7 – 23 who migrate to South Africa, Serbia, Greece, Colombia, Mexico and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“I gave a condition to my family, that I would leave only if we are going somewhere where I can get a passport and be able to work. They respected my opinion”, Nadene, 18, Afghanistan, interviewed in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Research from three different continents shows what the situation for girls on the move looks like in their home countries, during their journey and -in some cases- when they arrive at their final destination.

Their stories highlight serious rights violations and strong agency and determination to improve their outcomes, Save the Children said today.

The bravest girls in the world are among those on the move, who have the courage to leave their home and family in search for protection, education and food. But girls on the move are particularly vulnerable to rights violations and grave risks during their journeys. The prospect of a better life in their new country can be significantly advanced, if we protect them and ensure an adequate reception system

Adrian Förster CEO Save the Children Switzerland

Download the full report

Girls on the Move Report pdf - 3,32 MB