Press Release

Young People Move More Now Than Ever

06 September 2006

New UNFPA Report Features Stories of Young Migrants

LONDON/NEW YORK — Young people from developing countries are increasingly on the move and represent a third of all international migrants. They come from all types of backgrounds, and cross borders for many reasons. Their journeys are often marked with hope and success, but also with disillusionment and despair.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is issuing the first-ever youth companion to its annual The State of World Population report. Moving Young highlights the social, economic and demographic aspects of youth migration. It tells the stories of young people whose lives have been shaped by migration. Their personal experiences, described in their own words, illustrate the challenges and opportunities that millions of young women and men encounter as they venture into new lands. These are first-hand accounts of many of the issues raised in The State of World Population 2006.

Moving Young offers a glimpse into the lives of young migrants and the reasons that compel them to leave their homes and countries. Many are searching for jobs and better opportunities, while others are forced to escape conflict or persecution. An increasing number of students are seeking education abroad. Many move to be reunited with parents or other relatives who have already settled abroad. Many leave their homes to marry, including young women forced to do so against their will. Many go willingly, lured away by false promises, while others are coerced into sex slavery.

The report highlights the need to create opportunities for young people in their own countries. It also calls for world leaders and policymakers to protect their human rights and to recognize their contributions—both to origin and destination countries. Governments need to fully use the resourcefulness and vitality of young migrants rather than consider them as burdens or risks.

"Young people are characterized by innovation, by creativity, by perseverance and hard work, and by wanting to try something new,” says UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid. “If well-guided and directed, that spirit is the kind that will bring well-being to any society."

The young men and women profiled in Moving Young come from 10 countries: Burkina Faso, Colombia, India, Kenya, Liberia, the Republic of Moldova, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Suriname and Zambia. Their stories are very similar to those of millions of others who cross borders every day in search of a better life.


UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.

Contact Information:

Abubakar Dungus
Tel.: +1 (212) 297-5031

Omar Gharzeddine
Tel.: +1 (212) 297-5028

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