Asylum, children as seekers of

Crafter, Sarah (2020). Asylum, children as seekers of. In: Cook, Daniel Thomas Cook ed. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood Studies. SAGE.


Broadly speaking, an asylum seeker can be defined or described as a person who has left their country of origin and formally applied for asylum in another country, which has not yet been granted. Historically, children’s involvement in seeking asylum has been subsumed under family or kin migration. Consequently, children were largely treated as objects travelling with adults, or their experience conflated with those of women and mothers. However, the last 20 years has seen a gradual shift away from this perspective to understanding children’s role in migration as people with both feelings and agency in their own right, separate from the adults around them. In turn, there is now significant attention paid to children who seek asylum alone (see also Unaccompanied entry). In some situations, children may hope or expect to join kin who are already settled in the destination country. Perhaps rarer, are children sent ahead of adults who later hope to join them once asylum is achieved. In some asylum situations, children born in the country their family migrated to, face the prospect of being able to stay behind whilst their parents are deported.

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