Child Migration

In this project, the term “child migrants” has a wider definition. This term includes people who experienced migration in their childhood, some even repeatedly. In addition, today, numerous people have not experienced physical cross-border migration, but they have experienced cross-border experiences in their childhood. Examples include children born out of cross-border marriages or intimacy without formal marriage registration, cross-border adoptions, stepchildren of cross-border remarriages, children of cross-border divorces, and so on. Such people also are in the same situation as those who experienced (repeated) migration in their childhood in the way that their senses of affiliation, identities, language abilities, social capital, social networks, educational backgrounds, and sometimes nationality or citizenship statuses are diverse and complicated.

The Asia

In our project, the target area of research covers East and Southeast Asia – namely Japan, Korea, China, Mongolia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, East Timer, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar. While we acknowledge that cross-border migration phenomena cannot be enclosed within such a territorial boundary, we have set these regions as our target area to focus the research framework.


This research project focuses on how such diverse and complicated backgrounds, senses of affiliation, and nationality or citizenship statuses are entangled with each other and how this situation affects the social lives of such people when they enter higher education and the labor market and build families. We use mainly three analytical frameworks: partial citizenship of migrant families, the ubiquitous borders experienced by cross-border children in their daily lives, and transnational classes as reflected in their lives.


The main references used in relation to the topic are as below.

  • Alipio, Cheryll, Melody C.W. Lu, Brenda S.A. Yeoh, (2015) “Editorial: Asian children and transnational migration,” Children’s Geographies, 13(3): 255-262.
  • Allerton, Catherine. (2014) “Statelessness and the lives of the children of migrants in Sabah, East Malaysia,”
    Tiburg Law Review: Journal of International and European Law, 19(1-2): 26-34.
  • Bhabha, Jacqueline. (2011) Children Without a State: A Global Human Rights Challenge, The MIT Press.
  • Beazley, Harriot. (2015) “Multiple identities, multiple realities: children who migrate independently for work in Southeast Asia,” Children’s Geographies 13(3): 296-309.
  • Constable, Nicole. (2014) Born Out of Place: Migrant Mothers and the Politics of International Labor, University of California Press.
  • Ensor, Marisa O. and Elzbieta M. Gozdziak. (2010) Children and Migration: At the Crossroads of Resiliency and Vulnerability, Hampshire and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Hashim, Iman and Dorte Thorsen. eds., (2011) Child Migration in Africa (Africa Now), London and New York: Zed Books.
  • Laoire, Caitriona Ni, Fina Carpena-Mendez, Allen White. eds., (2011) Childhood and Migration in Europe: Portraits of Mobility, Identity and Belonging in Contemporary Ireland, Farnham and Burlington, VT:Ashgate.
  • Lebuhn, Henrik. (2013) “Local Border Practices and Urban Citizenship in Europe. Exploring Urban Borderlands,” CITY 17(1):37-51.
  • Parrenas, Rhacel S. (2015). Servants of Globalization: Migration and Domestic Work, Stanford University Press.