Tens of thousands of young male migrants pursuing a new life in Europe could threaten the peace and stability of western nations, an American professor has warned.
Huge numbers of unaccompanied teenage boys who have fled poverty and war in Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan are creating imbalances in the numbers of men and women in parts of Europe which rival those of China, according to Valerie Hudson, a professor at Texas A & M University who studies the effects of sex ratios on the stability of nations.
Writing for Politico, a website based in Washington, Dr Hudson said: “Crimes such as rape and sexual harassment become more common in highly masculinised societies, and women’s ability to move about freely and without fear within society is curtailed. In addition, demand for prostitution soars. Places where the sex ratio is most imbalanced have higher violent crime and property crime rates.”
Her warning about the consequences of too many young men dominating western societies came after scores of women were attacked, sexually assaulted and robbed by gangs in four German cities on New Year’s Eve.
Police said that the victims reported that their assailants were of Middle Eastern appearance. The attacks triggered a backlash over Germany’s acceptance of 1.1 million asylum seekers last year. One local police chief described the attacks as “a completely new dimension in crime”. It remains unclear if the assailants were migrants.
According to official statistics, two thirds of all migrants registering in Greece and Italy last year were male. A fifth of all those who reached the EU last year were under the age of 18; half had travelled alone. Of those, more than 90 per cent were boys.
While debate in Europe has frequently focused on the faith and culture of the new arrivals, Dr Hudson argues that demographics should be driving the decisions of governments. “Nobody is talking about this,” she said. “We should be thinking strategically about how to protect the normal sex ratios. Places where the sex ratios are most unequal have suffered a rise in crime. China has suffered a rise in crime, India as well.
“I don’t care if they are Muslim or Greek Orthodox,” she added. “If you are altering sex ratios to the level of 123 men to every 100 women, you are going to have problems.”
Other demographers have argued that a large young population can be a recipe for revolution. The “youth bulge theory” was frequently cited during the Arab Spring.
A larger number of men than women has also been identified as a cause of instability. “High numbers of males per females tends to be correlated with more violent cultures or societies,” said Barbara Miller, a professor of anthropology and international affairs at George Washington University.
Dr Hudson warned that the problem of too many young migrant men was particularly profound in Sweden, which has taken more migrants per head of population than any other European country — nearly four times that of Germany. She calculated that among the population aged 16 and 17 there were now 123 boys for every 100 girls. In China, where gender imbalances are blamed on the government’s one-child policy, the ratio is 117 boys to every 100 girls.
She claims that 18,615 boys aged 16 and 17 entered Sweden, compared to 2,555 girls last year. Adding those figures to the existing population count in Sweden for those age groups, as reported by the international database of the US Census Bureau, she finds that there are now 121,914 boys in that age bracket, compared with 99,079 girls.
Dr Hudson cites Canada as an example of a country that has recognised the risks of an overly large young male population. Canada has committed to accepting 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of next month, but it is only accepting women, accompanied minors and families. She fears that Europe’s hard-won victories for gender equality and public safety are jeopardised by an influx of disproportionately large numbers of young men.
Her research, in conjunction with Andrea Den Boer, a specialist in gender and international relations at the University of Kent, has found a link between such disparities and the emergence of criminal gangs and anti-government groups.
They argue that young men who struggle to start their own families and who may also be marginalised as immigrants, are more likely to turn to crime.
Of migrants registering in Greece and Italy, 66.2 per cent were male, according to the International Organisation for Migration. This imbalance may be reduced if men succeed in bringing their wives and children to join them. However, the gender disparity among unaccompanied teenage and child migrants is far greater and unlikely to be corrected.
Dr Hudson noted that 20 per cent of migrants were minors and most were arriving unaccompanied. They are virtually guaranteed asylum upon arrival but are not permitted to bring over spouses — the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that countries need not recognise the legality of child marriages among migrants. Among these unaccompanied children and teenagers, 90 per cent are male.
In Britain, David Cameron’s decision only to take the most vulnerable people from refugee camps — and his refusal to take migrants who have already reached Europe — is expected to prevent a disproportionate number of young men arriving.
The UK is taking in 20,000 Syrians by 2020, but only “vulnerable” people camped in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon who have not managed to make the treacherous trip to Europe. Under the UK’s program, the UN identifies those it believes to be the most vulnerable, including victims of torture, sexual exploitation, the elderly and infirm, and the severely ill. They are put through a security check before being approved for resettlement in Britain.
Home Office officials denied that the decision to accept refugees who had reached Europe was down to “not wanting a particular type of individual”. Instead, they said that it was designed to ensure that others were not encouraged to make the dangerous voyage.
However, Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, suggested in October that he believed that migrants reaching Europe were disproportionately “fit young men”. He said: “Many of the people we see on our television screens walking down railway lines are fit young men coming to Europe to look for work,” he said in October.
Source: The Times