Report – Save the Children Sweden introduced in March 2006 a website in several languages, a free telephone line and an e-mail address for children and young people who live in Sweden without the proper papers. One important observation that can be made after the first year of this project is that undocumented children are primarily treated as undocumented, and secondarily as children. When they are treated as children first and foremost it is due to the views of individual adults. Among the observations is also that families who are forced to migrate are often at risk of being split up in the process, and that separated children have become undocumented after being denied asylum.

The helpline for undocumented children was named, after the Swedish expression “utan papper” (without papers, undocumented). The idea was to give children – be they former asylum seekers, visa overstayers or victims of trafficking – an opportunity to get in contact with adults who they can trust and who will not take advantage of them. During the first year 231 children, youths and adults contacted the helpline. Some of these contacts ended after the first conversation. However, 84 questions regarding a total of 128 children and young adults led to further talks. Among these 128 children and youths, 25 had been living away from their parents before their 18th birthday. Most of the separated children had been spending the time away from their family in a country where they did not have a residence permit and were in fact ”undocumented” migrants.

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