According to Europol, at least 10,000 unaccompanied migrant children have disappeared in Europe in 2015 within hours of being registered, and only a handful have been found since. Research increasingly confirms the link between going missing and exploitation: once outside the protection system, children may face situations of sexual or labour exploitation,

trafficking, starvation, homelessness and be exposed to serious risks for their mental and physical health. Despite the staggering risks to which migrant children are exposed, their disappearance is usually underreported. For many of these children, the journey into exploitation and suffering does not end once they arrive on EU shores.


To better prevent and protect these children while in Europe, urgent intervention is needed:

• We want children to have access to child friendly, up to date and accessible information on their rights, procedures and the support available wherever they are, so they are empowered to take the right decisions, rather than forced to trust those profiting from their vulnerability, and therefore are better protected while on the move in Europe;

• We want actors working with children to be better trained in responding to protection needs of children in migration and we want them to work together better across national borders on the basis of trialled and tested procedures, so that children are better protected from disappearance and trafficking;

• We want the general public to feel a sense of responsibility and empathy towards the needs of children in migration, and we want that the narrative regarding children in migration changes to a more positive discourse to avoid alienation of children and to help children to integrate into their new society;

• We want policy makers at the national and EU level to prioritise children in migration policies so all decisions regarding children are based on their best interest, including those related to law making and public funding


Since May 2017, Missing Children Europe has been working on a project aiming named AMINA to close the protection gaps that lead to the disappearance and exploitation of children in migration in Europe. AMINA will contribute to an environment where policy and legislative processes take the best interest of children as their primary consideration.

The number of unaccompanied children who disappeared [in Sweden] is equivalent to 2 classes of children disappearing every month. What sort of society would accept this?

Amir Hashemi-Nik, Development Manager at the Stockholm County Administrative Board

Too often failing cooperation and coordination, nationally and transnationally, between these stakeholders becomes an obstacle in achieving what we all ultimately aim to do: bringing these children to safety and protecting them from harm.

Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, President of Missing Children Europe and UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography


They’re vulnerable, they’re in a country where they don’t speak the language. They don’t know where they’re situated, where they’re going, what’s what. They’re just transferred from one place to the other after going through tremendous difficulties and adverse conditions and obviously they’re very, very susceptible and vulnerable to any type of very well organised criminal attempt and approach.

Piji Protopsaltis, Head of the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, The Smile of the Child, Greece

The issue of missing unaccompanied children is a serious one that is linked to many other aspects, starting with identification and registration … Another aspect is providing children with reliable and accessible information, especially to counter whatever they might have been told by traffickers.

Margaret Tuite, European Commission Coordinator on the Rights of the Child



INTERACT – Towards a more efficient cooperation across borders for the protection of children

The INTERACT project: an innovative methodology to identify cooperation gaps The INTERACT project is part of Missing Children Europe’s AMINA programme, a comprehensive multi-annual programme supported by the H&M Foundation. The programme aims to close the protection gaps that lead to disappearance and exploitation of children in migration and contribute to creating such an environment in which primary consideration is given to the best interest of the child.

Looking for Abena and Qiro across the EU: Missing Children Europe and partners work towards ending exploitation of children in migration with fictional cases 

Abena is a young girl who was forced to leave Eritrea when confronted with an impossible choice as she approached her 14th birthday: being forcibly married to a 35 year man or enrol in the military. She decided to escape with her brother and embarked on a dreadful journey to Europe, but they ended up being separated and Abena arrived alone to Italy.


In the past few years, Europe has received large number of migrants. Many of the migrants are children who come to Europe without their parents or caretakers. Life for these children are anything but safe or simple, and many disappear. Together with Missing Children Europe, the H&M Foundation aim to protect and support these children, in their struggle to build a new life in a new country.