MAIN CONSEQUENCES OF RELOCATIONS

The range of different consequences that the relocation of one or more members of a family have on the relocated individuals, as well as on their household, proved to be vast.

The primary effect of these coercive measures, affecting both categories, is family separation. In 55,1% of the cases assessed by INTERSOS the relocation measure concerned 4 or less members of the family, very often including the head of the household, with less than 20% of the cases concerning the entire family.

Family separation is linked to several negative sub consequences: increasing negative coping mechanisms due to the loss of sources of income; further economic hardship and indebtedness; psychological trauma and fear; unaccompanied or separated children (UASC); increasing risk of abuse, exploitation, sexual and gender based violence (SGBV).

With regards to those left behind, direct repercussions range between stress, anxiety, abandonment, sexual harassment and exploitation, signs of psychological trauma, depression, and even heart attacks.

It should also be stressed that most of the time the relocation concerns the breadwinners of the household – because of their higher exposure to police checks, while on their way to/from work or while at the workplace – thus strongly impacting the situation of those left behind with the same expenses but significantly reduced income.

Resorting to child labour, child marriage, early removal of children from school and exploitative work are other clear examples of resulting negative coping strategies.

Qualitative findings from this study suggest, moreover, that the impact of family separation is particularly harsh on the children left behind, who in several cases reported various consequences such as deep emotional distress, entire days in tears or without saying a word, frequently inquiring about their missing relatives and fearing they will never see them again.