Lost in Europe reveals: over 18,000 children gone missing

Research shows that more than 18,000 child migrants have gone missing since arriving in Europe between 2018-2020. This is evident from data collected by Lost in Europe in 30 European countries. It is feared that some of them fell in the hands of drug gangs, human traffickers, or were exploited in the sex industry. Others may have traveled to family or friends in Europe without reporting it. They have all but disappeared.

Lost in Europe organised a data bootcamp to find out how many unaccompanied minors disappear in Europe, since there is a large discrepancy in the figures. The Lost In Europe journalists form various European countries came together to find out what the recent figures are. This showed that at least 18,292 unaccompanied child migrants went missing in Europe between January 2018 and December 2020 – equivalent to nearly 17 children a day. This number is a minimum, as the researchers state that cross-border cooperation is ‘nonexistent’ and the administration is lacking.

Most of the children who have gone missing over the past three years came to Europe from Morocco, but Algeria, Eritrea, Guinea and Afghanistan were also among the top countries of origin. According to the data available, 90% were boys and about one in six were younger than 15.

The shocking results of this data research are published by collaborating media in nine European countries. The Guardian is one of the collaborating media who published about the results of the data bootcamp. Read the full article here.

Photograph: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty, through The Guardian