More than 10,000 migrant children may have disappeared after arriving in Europe over the past two years, the EU's police intelligence unit says. Europol said thousands of vulnerable minors had vanished after registering with state authorities. It warned of children and young people being forced into sexual exploitation and slavery by criminal gangs.
Save the Children says some 26,000 child migrants arrived in Europe last year without any family. It is the first time Europol has given a Europe-wide estimate of how many might be missing.The story notes that some of these missing kids may have been united with family members, but the fear is that many of them have fallen into the hands of human traffickers and other kinds of gangs. It seems that by law even child migrants are allowed out of the reception centers during the day and some use the opportunity to run away--and that probably doesn't end well for a lot of them.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) spokesman Leonard Doyle told the BBC the figure of 10,000 missing children was "shocking but not surprising". He said it was "to be expected" that many of these would be caught up in exploitation. "Let's hope now the EU puts the resources into finding these children, helping them and reuniting these children with their families."