Greek Police: 1,096 Unaccompanied Refugee Children Missing



refugeesAccording to Hellenic Police, the unaccompanied missing refugee children in Greece in 2014 and 2015 amount to 1,096, as 1,481 were reported missing and 385 were found.

Greek police say that out of the 1,096 children missing, only 16 are girls. It is also clarified that these figures include refugee children who were reported missing more than once, thereby the actual number is lower.

The figures show that almost all the unaccompanied children missing are in the 15-18 age group, a small percentage are 10-14 and very few are under the age of 10.The largest number of unaccompanied children are from Afghanistan and Syria. The rest are mainly from Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq, Morocco, Bangladesh, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan and Algeria.

Most of the unaccompanied migrant children are in Patras, from where refugees flee to Italy. Some of the minors, after escaping, return to accommodation establishments, but often those responsible for them fail to inform the Hellenic Police of the children’s return.

“Police gives evidence based on reported disappearances. Some children are found but they are not deleted from the list of missing children,” told the Athens Macedonia News Agency Christos Dimopoulos, coordinator of Management of Housing Applications by Asylum Seekers and Unaccompanied Minors of the National Centre for Social Solidarity (EKKA), the service responsible for placement of unaccompanied minors.

According to EKKA data, in 2015 there were 2,248 housing requests for unaccompanied migrant children, while in 2014 the corresponding requests were 2,390. Dimopoulos explains that the number does not correspond to children but to number of applications, explaining that a child might make several requests depending on the stops to their destination.

For better management of unaccompanied refugee children, the Migration Policy Department is in the process of establishing a committee with members from the ministries of migration policy, justice, health and citizen protection, EKKA, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNICEF, and non-government organizations with experience in child protection. The committee will be established by the end of March.