This paper is based upon findings from empirical research in Bangladesh that examine the case of child migrants and the context in which they migrate from their homes in search of a livelihood. Contrary to popular perceptions that children only move with their families, there is growing evidence of autonomous migration by children. 'Autonomous migration' in the present context should be understood to mean migration by children outside the company of their immediate families, that is, parents/guardians. Movement of children in the company of friends, relatives or neighbours is also construed as being within the ambit of autonomous migration. In other words, the paper examines the position of children who have voluntarily moved either by themselves (typically cases of runaways) or in the company of friends, neighbours and relatives. This paper seeks to highlight the dynamics of migration by children independently of their immediate families and voluntarily, that is, of their own free will, without the application of any fear or force by families.
Paper presented to "Children and Youth in Emerging and Transforming Societies - CHILDHOODS 2005’, 29 June-3 July, Oslo, Norway. 17 pp.