Over 10,000 migrant children are missing from Europe, the latest problem of the Syrian refugee crisis. It is being speculated that many of these missing migrant children have been forced into the human sex trade. This latest crisis was brought to the attention of the world on Sunday when Europol’s Chief of Staff Brian Donald released a statement discussing that over the last two years, thousands of children have gone missing.
“Europol has alerted the authorities to an aspect of the migrant crisis ignored until now; the fact that 10,000 children have gone missing, and will be easy targets for human traffickers.”
— EBRU AFRICA NEWS (@ebruafricanews) February 2, 2016
Last year, Europe welcomed in over one million refugees from war-torn Syria. Of those million, 270,000 were children. The children that are missing are believed to have entered Europe on their own, unaccompanied by an adult. Unaccompanied children are easy targets for the criminal underworld since they have no family to search for them.
“Whether they are registered or not, we’re talking about 270,000 children. Not all of those are unaccompanied, but we also have evidence that a large proportion might be.”
According to Europol, approximately 26,000 of the children who entered Europe last year did not migrate with an adult. Keeping track of all the refugees entering Europe has been a logistical nightmare. Keeping track of children has been no easier.
Europol’s Brian Donald comments further on the migrant children.
“Vulnerable children, particularly those sleeping outside alone or locked in large mixed groups in cramped detention centres, are at risk of trafficking, sexual exploitation and physical abuse. It’s not unreasonable to say that we’re looking at 10,000-plus children. Not all of them will be criminally exploited; some might have been passed on to family members. We just don’t know where they are, what they’re doing or whom they are with.”
European countries have been trying to figure out what the right balance needs to be in order to do what is necessary to protect the children coming into the various countries in Europe. The children who have come to Europe by themselves are registered in the various countries that are taking in Syrian refugees. Resources such as safe homes and translators are lacking. The refugee centers that initially take in these children allow them to move freely during the daytime. Fearing for their safety, some of these refugee children simply run away. Others, it is believed, get caught up with criminal organizations that profit from the exploitation of children.
— Carolyn Cole (@Carolyn_Cole) January 31, 2016
Europol has been able to ascertain that some of the missing migrant children are being used as child labor in some European countries. In Turkey, a huge increase can be seen in the child labor force. Turkey has taken in over a million refugees from Syria. Most of them are not able to work in Turkey due to Turkey sparingly handing out work permits to Syrians who have skills that are considered to be highly skilled. With many of the refugees not being allowed to work, the burden falls on the refugee children, who get paid far less than adults would. Up to 400,000 children are forced out of receiving their education in order to be used as child labor.
What can be done in order to find and protect the thousand of migrant children that are missing from Europe? The Syrian refugee crisis has stretched European resources to the brink of collapse. The missing migrant children are just the latest black eye on how Europe is handling the mass migration.
[Image via YouTube]