BERLIN – Almost 1,800 migrants, most of whom are believed to be children and teenagers have disappeared without a trace in Germany, according to reports circulated by German news agency Funke Mediengruppe, raising concerns over human trafficking.
European Union (and Europe as a whole) has seen a significant influx of migrants in recent years – just over 100,000 people had arrived at EU borders in mid-November 2019, according to a recent report published by Human Rights Watch. A large proportion of migrants consists of those under the age of 18, and many of these minors regularly vanish from government radars, according to Missing Children Europe.
A total of 1,785 minor migrants are currently unaccounted for in Germany, according to figures from the end of March – 1,074 adolescents and 711 children, most of them from Afghanistan, Syria, Morocco, Guinea and Somalia. Tobias Klaus of the minor migrants’ association confirmed that little is known about what happens to those unaccompanied migrant minors who are missing from the statistics.
“We know alarmingly little about the dangerous situations these young people may find themselves in,” Klaus noted.
The German government stressed that migrant minors are a particularly high-risk group that is frequently targeted by human traffickers and people smugglers, as well as Islamic radicalization groups.
The German federal government, however, reports that this high number is still lower than in previous years. At the start of 2017, Germany’s Federal Criminal Investigation Office (BKA) recorded more than 8,400 missing migrant minors. By the start of 2019, that number had fallen to around 3,200.
However, according to the Funke newspapers, the federal government attributes the decrease in numbers to the fact that many of the migrant minors had reached the age of 18 or higher and so are no longer counted in the figures, as well as an overall decrease in the flow of migrants to Germany in recent years.