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


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. Its innovative methodology uses simulations of cases of missing children in migration to test practices and procedures for multi-agency collaboration at national and cross-border level.

90 professionals from 6 countries worked together in two fictionalized disappearance cases based on the stories of real children. The case of Abena, who escaped child marriage in Eritrea, involved Italy, France and Sweden; the case of Quiro, an Iraqi Kurdish boy who fled the war, involved Greece, Belgium and the United Kingdom. Through a series of simulations/table-top exercises, professionals made real time judgement calls on how to cooperate with partners in and outside their country in these cases, using existing tools and procedure, drawing on their knowledge and expertise. 

As a result of the project two publications were issued in December 2019 - a practical guidance on preventing and responding to trafficking and disappearances of children in migration and the Interact Report on multi-agency practical simulations on fictional cases in Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, the United Kingdom and Sweden.

Interact handbook aims to stimulate and disseminate practices on how to better cooperate in prevention, response and after care of missing or exploited children in migration. It is an updated version of the Summit Handbook “Practical Guidance on preventing and responding to unaccompanied children going missing” (2015), and is hence building on both the results of the report “Best practice and key challenges for interagency cooperation to safeguard unaccompanied migrant children from going missing” (2015) and the Simulations Report “Towards a more efficient cooperation across border for the protection of children” (2019). The latter analysed the outcome of the simulations that took place in six countries on two fictive cases of trafficking and missing children in migration: Abena (13, Eritrea) and Qiro (16, Iraqi Kurdistan). The report drew from the conclusions of these cases to formulate policy recommendations at the EU and national level for an improved transnational cooperation framework.

Read the full handbook here.

Interact report illustrates the implementation and the results of the simulations. It also includes an overview of the national context in the countries participating and presents procedures, good practices and challenges in national and cross border collaboration, as identified by the professionals who participated in the simulations. In addition, the national partners developed a roadmap for progress with specific goals to be achieved by 2024 in each country participating in the project. This publication is accompanied by a handbook with practical guidance on effective mechanisms, procedures, tools and good practices for national and cross-border cooperation in cases of missing unaccompanied children at risk of (re)trafficking. 

Read the full report here.