Questions to Dutch Secretary of State about missing children

“Volt”, a party in the Dutch House of Representatives, has asked questions to Secretary of State Ankie Broekers-Knol in response to the Lost in Europe research that showed 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.

The research was published in media in nine European countries, including Argos in the Netherlands. This article was written by investigative journalist and Lost in Europe member Sanne Terlingen. She was also behind the research into the Vietnamese children that went missing from Dutch protected shelters. This research was awarded last week with the #IJ4EU Impact Award.

Following the investigation, Dutch Member of Parliament Marieke Koekoek from Volt, has asked the Secretary of State responsible for justice and security: Unaccompanied minors appear to disappear from shelters in the Netherlands on a large scale. What is the cabinet doing to prevent this? She also points out that these vulnerable children could fall into the hands of international sex, drug and human trafficking networks. She insists on European agreements on prevention, registration and tracing of missing children.

The Secretary of State response: “It is undesirable for these children to disappear, but there is open care in these shelters. Despite “intense supervision”, children leaving for an unknown destination cannot be prevented.”

Defence for Children states following this research: “The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child obliges countries to protect children against exploitation and human trafficking. Their right to special protection is also enshrined in EU law. We believe that the Netherlands, like the EU and other member states, is taking too little action.” Defence for Children will use this investigation, like the others, to press for more action for protection of unaccompanied minors.

Read the article of Sanne Terlingen here (in Dutch).

Photo: DFID – UK Department for International Development.