MEPs will debate how to tackle the disappearance of migrant children in Europe with Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos on Wednesday afternoon. Around 10,000 unaccompanied refugee children have gone missing after arriving in Europe, Europol estimated in 2016.
It is feared that some of these children are being sexually exploited by criminal gangs or forced to beg or commit crimes. Others may have disappeared while searching for their families in other EU countries or out of desperation over cumbersome asylum procedures or detention in reception centres.
The issue was discussed in the Civil Liberties Committee in April last year. MEPs stressed the need to step up protection of unaccompanied minors and improve cross-border cooperation in cases where a child has gone missing and might have travelled on to another country.
Procedure: Commission statement
Debate: Wednesday, 1 March