Seasonal rural residence of Icelandic children

Jónína Einarsdóttir

Abstract



Research that focuses on children who migrate without a parent or legal guardian is most often carried out in low-income countries. Such migration is increasingly associated with child trafficking. In this article the Icelandic custom to send children to the country during the summer months in the last century will be examined. It is based on secondary documents such as journals, magazines, documents and reports from child protection authorities. The Icelandic population shared the opinion that seasonal rural residence for urban children was beneficial for the nation, the family and the child. In the country, the children would enjoy unspoiled nature, clean mountain air and nutritious food. In addition, they would learn to attend animals and proper work. Individuals, associations, charities and child protection authorities collaborated in an effort to organise rural residence for children during the summer months, either at farms or particular summer camps. Rural residence was considered to be particularly important for delinquent children, but also those who suffered from poverty, irresponsible parental behaviour and poor health. Data is lacking on the number of children sent to the country and their experiences however it is known to have varied greatly. Likewise, little is known about the considerations of the farmers who hosted the children and the children’s parents. This custom is typically per definition child migration without a parent or legal guardian. Care should be taken not to classify such customs routinely as child trafficking wherever they are practiced.

Keywords


Seasonal rural residence; urban areas; children.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13177/irpa.a.2012.8.1.3

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