All too often, the thousands of unaccompanied children arriving in foreign lands without parents or caregivers find themselves trapped in their status as migrants, with officials giving little consideration to their vulnerabilities and needs as children. They may be denied access to adequate medical services and education, abused and mistreated by police, guards, and other detainees, and unable to seek asylum. They may languish in jail-like detention facilities, in conditions that are often degrading and inhumane, and many children are held in cells with adults who are strangers. Children held in detention, particularly for long periods with no release in sight, suffer lasting consequences, physically and mentally. Detention can create new traumas or exacerbate previous ones.

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