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OTTAWA, May 11 (Canadian-Media): Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau had been urged by the United Nations children's agency to press his fellow G7 leaders to help vulnerable and isolated refugee children who face sexual and physical abuse, media reports said.
The global refugee crisis, about children travelling alone without adult supervision, while in Sicily later this month had prompted a senior UNICEF official asking Trudeu to look into this matter more seriously, CTVNews reports said.
"The Canadian government and the prime minister have spoken out very strongly on two big issues: one is around refugees and migrants and secondly, is around women and girls," said UN Assistant Secretary General Justin Forsythe, the deputy executive director of UNICEF.
All G7 countries need to do more to address the exploitation of children crossing the Mediterranean Sea into Europe, Forsythe said in an interview.
Ninety percent of children making that journey were reported to be unaccompanied and faced sexual slavery and detention during their flight, and further discrimination in some European countries.
Forsythe said Trudeau had the political capital to push his fellow leaders to and help settle more unaccompanied child migrants, specially in Britain and France owing to political turmoil in these places.
The recent French election promoted anti-immigration policies of leader Marine Le Pen, who was eventually defeated.
US President, Donald Trump’s attempt to ban migrants from a number of mainly Muslim countries from entering the United States had resulted in a legal battle between the White House and the U.S. judiciary.
"Even if they can't agree on the whole thing of refugees and migrants, they could agree they'll particularly look after the most vulnerable children," said Forsythe.
Forsythe said the vast majority of unaccompanied children were crossing from Libya, but children were also coming from Central American countries into the U.S.
The Mediterranean crossings recorded the most horrific circumstances, said Forsythe and siad he had met a Nigerian teenage girl who been imprisoned in an underground prison in Libya for eight months and repeatedly raped.
Teenaged boys from Eritrea described being sold into slavery to a militia of 150 children in Libya, he said.
According to the UNICEF reports, 96,000 unaccompanied children claimed asylum in Europe in 2015, but the full picture for 2016 was not yet known. However, in Germany alone, some 36,000 unaccompanied children had claimed asylum.
(Reported by Asha Bajaj)
Image of refugee children: Twitter