In Western Europe, the announcement of the missing of hundreds of Muslim children in Belgium turned eyes again to "missing refugee children."

Many refugee children who are not with their families are missing in Europe. According to the European Police Organization Europol, more than 10,000 migrant children have disappeared in the European Union since 2014. Only in Belgium in 2017, 618 refugee children reported as missing.

According to Child Focus, a non-governmental organization that works on lost and hungry children in Belgium, the number of asylum seekers lost in 2017 has increased significantly compared to previous years. The organization said it was concerned that child asylum seekers have taken by abusers.

Of the 618 disappearing asylum-seeking children, only 124 are reported to Child Focus. Hilde Vautmans, a member of the European Parliament, said that while Belgian children were reported to the Child Focus within 24 hours of their disappearance, this situation sometimes took days and even weeks for asylum seekers.

The situation is not different in other European countries

The German Children's Aid Organization (Deutsche Kinderhilfswerk) said in 2017 that more than 6,000 refugee children were missing in Germany. It has been stated that thousands of refugee children settled in youth centers in Germany are missing and some of these children, where they are unknown, fall into the hands of the gangs. Germany Ministry of the Interior Deputy Undersecretary for Immigration and Refugees Norbert Seitz explained that it is not possible to give an exact figure about the number of missing refugee children throughout Germany.

Where are these kids?

According to European Police Organization Europol data, more than 10,000 immigrant children between 2014 and 2018 were missing after coming to European Union [EU] countries. Europol's intelligence unit warned that missing refugee children could be forced into prostitution and slavery by gangs and fall into the network of organ mafias. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the OSCE, pointed out those underage children who escaped from crisis regions were a group of asylum seekers facing the most dangerous. It was pointed out that children could easily become victims because they were sent to Europe alone before their families and could not protect themselves. Europol said that gangs known to be trafficking in Europe are now targeting migrants.

More than 100,000 children are not enrolled in the refugee system

International Non-governmental Organization Save the Children reported that in the year 2015, about 26,000 children came to European countries without their mothers or fathers. According to UNICEF, more than 100,000 children are not enrolled in the refugee system. In Slovenia, 80 percent of children are missing, while in Sweden 10 children, who are alone, are missing in each day. (ILKHA)

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