Mind the Children – on the move in Europe

An estimated 37 million children migrate every year. Thousands of them disappear while they are on the move in Europe. These children are vulnerable, and in danger of being exploited by human traffickers for illegal labor, crime or prostitution. Mind the Children – on the move in Europe aims to bring the stories of these missing children to light, and press for action to protect these children.

To do this, Mind the Children supports the activities of three organisations: Lost in Europe, Defence for Children-ECPAT Netherlands and Free Press Unlimited. Lost in Europe focuses on investigating how it is possible that these vulnerable migrant children are not protected and disappear within Europe. Defence for Children-ECPAT Netherlands uses these investigations to mobilise its network and demand for policy changes that secure legal protection, shelter and care for these children. Free Press Unlimited creates a secure work environment for the journalists, and takes care of project management. 

You can read more about the project partners and their role here.

What do we do?

The Mind the Children project will focus on the following activities:

  • Expansion of the network of Lost in Europe journalists and training of new members;
  • Ensure that all research and stories of the journalists are produced in a secure online work environment where they can share sensitive information;
  • Facilitate the production of impactful stories by Lost in Europe journalists;
  • Create a whistleblowing platform to (anonymously) share tips and information; 
  • Advocacy activities for policy changes in Europe;
  • Raise awareness among European citizens and politicians about the lack of protection of migrant children in Europe.

With these activities Mind the Children aims to make power-holders aware of the issue, and urge them to take effective measures to address the disappearance of thousands of migrant children in Europe. Unaccompanied child migrants should be protected, and have the right to safe shelter with access to health, education and legal protection.

Project partners

Free Press Unlimited

Everyone has the right to independent, reliable and timely information. For this, freedom of the press and freedom of information are indispensable. That is why Free Press Unlimited supports local media professionals and journalists, especially in countries with limited (press) freedom. We enable them to give people access to the information that helps them survive, develop and control their governments.

For Mind the Children, Free Press Unlimited builds a secure work environment for the journalists of the Lost in Europe collective. This way the journalists can share and receive information safely that helps them in their investigations. As beneficiary of the Dutch Postcode Lottery, Free Press Unlimited is responsible for overall project management.

Lost in Europe

Lost in Europe is a cross-border journalism project investigating the disappearance of child migrants in Europe. It is feared that some of these children fell in the hands of drug gangs, human traffickers, or were sold into the sex industry. Others may have traveled to family or friends in Europe without reporting it. They have all but disappeared. The goal of Lost in Europe is to recover the stories of these missing children. Lost in Europe comprises a team of investigative journalists from the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Germany, France, Greece and the UK, who are collaborating to investigate what has happened to the disappeared children in Europe.

For Mind the Children, the journalists of Lost in Europe are supported to expand their network and to produce impactful stories, all while working in a secure online work environment that allows cross-border investigations.

Defence for Children-ECPAT Netherlands

Defence for Children-ECPAT Netherlands stands up for the rights of all children in the Netherlands and abroad. Through the Children’s Rights Helpdesk we provide legal support to children whose rights are at risk of being violated. Defence for Children-ECPAT Netherlands conducts research and provide information to professionals, parents and children. At Defence for Children, the child is central and the interests of children come first, which is why they advocate for safeguarding children’s rights in legislation and policy.

For Mind the Children, Defence for Children-ECPAT Netherlands uses the results of the investigations by Lost In Europe journalists to advocate with policy makers to prioritise the issue of the missing migrant children on the agenda, and to push for action and change to better protect these vulnerable child migrants.

This project is supported by the Dutch Postcode Lottery

Contact us

For questions, please send us an email: info@mindthechildren.eu

You can also follow the Mind the Children project via our partners’ social media:


Do you have a tip or information that you’d like to share directly with the journalists of Lost in Europe? Click here.