Europe in crisis as migrant children disappear daily-

Europe in crisis as migrant children disappear daily

  • Published on
    April 30, 2024
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  • Category:
    Human Trafficking
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The alarming trend of migrant children disappearing daily across Europe continues to escalate, with recent research revealing that approximately 47 children go missing each day. This concerning phenomenon underscores the acute vulnerabilities these young individuals face, particularly their heightened risk of falling into human trafficking networks.

Rising numbers and systemic challenges

According to the latest findings by Lost in Europe, more than 50,000 unaccompanied migrant children have been reported missing since 2021 in 31 European countries. Ireland, for instance, has seen a staggering 500% increase in children arriving alone and claiming asylum. The country’s child agency reported that 607 unaccompanied minors were referred to their care in the last 15 months, with 243 of these cases occurring in just the first three months of 2024. These children often come from conflict-ridden regions like Afghanistan, Syria, and Sudan, making them particularly susceptible to exploitation. The alarming rise in disappearances points to significant gaps in the system’s ability to protect these vulnerable young migrants from the myriad dangers they face, including trafficking and exploitation in the sex industry.

“They are at a higher risk of being targeted by traffickers, if not already exploited by smugglers to pay off debts, or because they hold control over their loved ones or their passports.” – Aagje Ieven, Secretary General for Missing Children Europe

Urgent need for safe migration routes

The ongoing disappearance of migrant children starkly underscores Europe’s apparent indifference toward these vulnerable individuals, revealing deep systemic failures in prioritizing their safety and rights.

“This is more evidence that shows that migration management does not prioritise protection, and that authorities do treat children in migration differently than other children – their disappearance is treated with less concern, and this is an element of the child rights scandal that we are witnessing in Europe.” – Francesca Toscano, Save The Children Europe

The absence of safe and legal migration routes exacerbates this grave child protection crisis, compelling children to rely on dangerous smuggling networks, and exposing them to severe risks of trafficking and exploitation. Moreover, insufficient tracking and data collection means that many young lives slip through the cracks of the immigration system, largely unnoticed and unprotected. This disturbing trend highlights a scandalous breach of child rights, demanding an urgent overhaul of European migration policies to prioritize and safeguard the well-being of child migrants genuinely.

We demand urgent action to protect missing children and call for systemic reforms in migration management to prioritize the safety of our most vulnerable. Support our fight for effective anti-trafficking policies by signing our petition, and help ensure the well-being of migrant children.


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