In 2016, over 1.2 million migrants came to Europe. Out of these, 25% were children and more than 60,000 of them had come to Europe without their parents or caretakers. Since then, the the number of asylum seeker has diminished of 49%, with 625,000 new asylum applicants in Europe in 2017.
Still, more then 30,000 unaccompanied migrant children went missing between 2014-2017. Research has found that cases of migrant children are less prioritised than other child disappearances.
There are many reasons to why children go missing: the asylum process is too complex and takes too long, in addition, the chances to get an approval can be small. There’s no clear information on children’s rights or what services that are available to them. They can also go missing because they have been forced into sexual or labour exploitation, or are indebted to smugglers.
Regardless of why they go missing, once they disappear outside the protection systems, these children are extremely vulnerable – mentally, emotionally and to those who want to do them harm. Not investing in the protection of these children, will come at a great cost for the European societies.
Multi-level approach to close protection gaps
The H&M Foundation has joined forces with Missing Children Europe, the European federation for missing and sexually exploited children, who represent a network of 29 NGO’s in 26 countries.
With a total donation of 11.3 million Swedish krona for a three year period, our project aim to close the protection gaps which lead to the disappearance and exploitation of children in migration.
Research and feedback from grassroots professionals show that when protection and support is available, less children go missing. When missing migrant children cases are followed up on properly, more children are brought back to safety. The AMINA programme, coordinated by Missing Children Europe with the funding of the H&M Foundation, will seek to make sure that every child’s life is equal, as it should be.
- Launch a practical app to support the children to complete their journeys across Europe in safety without having to turn to those who mean them harm. It will map services and information on their rights in the country they find themselves in.
- Create a network of law enforcement and child protection services to tackle the problem with organised trafficking across borders.
- Contribute to changing the narrative of children in migration towards a more open and welcoming discourse, to support better integration of migrants into our communities.
- Advocate for strong laws and policies on EU level to protect children in migration.
million migrants came to Europe in 2016 and 2017.
unaccompanied children disappeared in Europe between 2014-2017.
countries in which this program will be implemented.