Traffickers benefit from Europe’s migration crisis. In the midst of the turmoil, criminal gangs are forcing more and more people into sex work and forced labor. Thousands of minors have disappeared…
One report says they prefer children as targets, so concerns increase over the fate of refugee children who are unaccompanied. Many cannot be accounted for since they came to Europe.
Almost 96,000 unaccompanied children claimed asylum in Europe in 2015, about one-fifth of the total number of child refugees. But at least 10,000 unaccompanied children have dropped off the radar of official agencies since arriving in Europe, the EU police agency reported in January. German authorities reported earlier this year that 4,700 children had been lost to officials, while up to 10 children a week are reported missing in Sweden.
The European commission report does not try to estimate how many victims are in the hands of these gangs. It does say, however, that child trafficking “has been exacerbated by the ongoing migration crisis”. Not only are these children victimized by the gangs, but if they are caught by authorities, they are considered perpetrators.
One EU document said, “Organised crime groups choose to traffic children as they are easy to recruit and quick to replace, they can also keep under their control child victims relatively cheaply and discreetly.” Trafficked children aged between six months and 10 years are bought and sold for sums ranging from €4,000 (£3,000) to €8,000, although amounts of up to €40,000 have been reported in some cases.
It is reported that 15,846 victims of human trafficking in 2013-14, including 2,375 children, have been registered, but it is believed that the real number is greater. But the report’s authors believe the true number of victims is far higher.
The report noted a “worryingly sharp increase” in Nigerian women and girls who have arrived in Italy from Libya. It’s a reported 300% year-on-year increase in the number of Nigerian victims of trafficking.
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