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Rapporteur concerned by disappearance of thousands of refugee children in Europe

Sevinj Fataliyeva (Azerbaijan, EC), General Rapporteur on Children of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has suggested European governments are “overlooking the most vulnerable” following a Europol report that thousands of unaccompanied migrant and refugee children have disappeared after arriving in Europe.

“We know that criminal networks already view the migrant crisis as an opportunity for profit. It is all too easy for these children – alone and in a strange place – to fall prey to traffickers. Council of Europe member States need to be more rigorous in tracing these children, ensuring that they are cared for properly as soon as they enter Europe, and finding ways to prevent this worrying new form of organised crime.”

Europol estimates that, of the 270,000 children who arrived in Europe in 2015, roughly 10,000 have disappeared from official asylum systems. Some are believed to have joined their families already present in Europe, but many are thought to have become victims of traffickers for sexual or commercial exploitation.