Vatican City, Jan 13: Pope Francis on Thursday called for the protection of vulnerable child migrants, particularly those who undertake long and dangerous journeys alone.
"Young migrants, especially when unaccompanied, are especially defenceless. Let everyone offer them a helping hand," Francis tweeted. His nine-language @Pontifex account has over 30 million followers.
More and more children are crossing borders on their own. Over 100,000 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum in 78 countries in 2015- triple the number in 2014 - the United Nations said in a report in September.
Child migrants travelling alone are among those at the highest risk of exploitation and abuse, including by smugglers and traffickers, the report said.