Shadow Game

The number of refugee children travelling unaccompanied to and through Europe has increased dramatically over recent years. It is estimated that in 2015 alone, over 85,000 children entered Europe on their own: children from Nigeria looking for a better life, boys and girls from Syria fleeing from war, Eritrean teenagers trying to escape dictatorship and never-ending compulsory military service, as well as a great many Afghan boys who — sometimes with the help of their whole village — seek a way out of their hopeless existence in Afghanistan.

Desperate to leave poverty and war behind, these children (and their families) have set their sights on Europe, place of safety and beauty, where people are friendly, and where human rights are respected. But once they reach the continent, they find that they don’t have access to these things. They arrive in a shadow world of detention centres, bands of smugglers, prostitution and modern slavery. Who helps them, who takes advantage of them and who looks the other way? Who is responsible for these children’s fate? Are they responsible for themselves? What about their country of origin? Europe? Us?

In this film we portray a number of child refugees as they traverse Europe and show some of the dangers that these unaccompanied children are exposed to. The film aims to convey a sense of what it is like to be on your own on such a dangerous journey. What are their motivations, dreams and fears?