What we do

Destination Unknown provides direct help to children, young people and families who are on the move. We develop ways to protect and promote the rights of these children based on their views and best interests – regardless of their migration status, gender, age, health, nationality, religious or cultural background.

Campaigns…  panel edd15

…to change policies, working practices and legislation at global, regional, national and local levels for the benefit of children on the move. We focus on child protection, asylum and international protection, refugee rights in humanitarian emergencies, migration and development issues, human rights and child rights with various stakeholders in a variety of different platforms.

Destination Unknown advocacy campaigning is concentrated on:

  • stopping children being detained purely because of their migration status;
  • protecting children on the move from exploitation;
  • making the voices and views of children and young people on the move heard in the media and in public discourse, and enabling these children to explain how they can be assisted directly to national and international policy makers.

Call to action mapRaises awareness…

…by showing how children’s rights are being violated when they move because of failings in the protection they are afforded. Destination Unknown also seeks to inform children and young people of the risks of moving, as well as enabling them, their families and others in their community to migrate safely.


…by joining up with international and regional groups of allied partners and civil society organisations.


  • Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) –  Since 2011, different members of the Destination Unknown campaign have played an active role during discussions at the GFMD Civil Society Days and discussions with governments. Terre des Hommes, the Destination Unknown campaign lead, is part of the Evaluation and Planning team for the GFMD Civil Society Days.
  • Global Campaign to End Child Immigration Detentionend child detention-logo – Detaining a child just because of their migration status is a fundamental violation of child rights legislation, and bringing an end to this is one of Destination Unknown’s key goals. Supported by over 100 organisations worldwide, the Global Campaign to End Child Immigration Detention urges governments to adopt alternatives to detention which respect children’s best interests, and allow them to remain with their families and/or guardians in a friendly, community based environment.
  • IAWG_squareThe Inter-Agency Working Group to End Child Immigration Detention (IAWG) – The IAWG aims to eliminate child immigration detention and to work together to help states develop alternatives to detaining children which honour their human rights obligations. The group is made up of UN agencies, intergovernmental institutions and civil society organisations, and looks to share information on child detention, produce and share research on the subject and campaign and advocate for an end using detention as a solution for children on the move.
  • The Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts – In 2016, the United Nations called for two agreements to be negotiated by 2018 – the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts aims to put children’s rights centre stage within these agreements. It is co-convened by Save the Children and Terre des Hommes, and has produced concrete recommendations on how this can be done.