CHILDREN as young as 10 years migrate to South Africa without their parents or guardians, in search of jobs, says the Refugee Children's Project.
"They come here for economic reasons. They are sent to look for work by parents or leave on their own," says RCP advocacy officer Alfani Yoyo.
Yoyo says the children enter the country through "irregular channels" (jumping the fence) and seek work in towns near the border such as Musina.
"Zimbabwean children prefer the Limpopo province because it is closer to home, allowing them to travel between the two countries to bring food and money home," says Yoyo.
Yoyo says the RCP helps unaccompanied minors to get immigration documents such as asylum-seekers' permits and access to services such as shelter, counselling and school.
He says refugee children were often denied schooling and access to health care because of their nationality although this was against the law.
Lawyers for Human Rights' Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh, pictured, says children who are not under the care of a parent or guardian fall under the care of the social development department and are entitled to shelter and access to education.
She says LHR helps undocumented minors to obtain documents such as asylum-seekers' permits.