EMN Inform: Missing unaccompanied minors in the EU, Norway and the UK
The phenomenon of unaccompanied migrant children going missing has increasingly been in the focus of public attention in the EU and the Member States.
What policies and procedures are in place and how is data on missing children collected in EU Members States, Norway and the UK?
The latest EMN Inform, in collaboration with international organisations, EU agencies and the EU NGOs, offers a global picture of the phenomenon.
The inform found that:
- It is not possible to accurately quantify the phenomenon of missing unaccompanied children in the EU due to lack of comparable data. Many Member States do not have reliable or complete data on missing unaccompanied minors, and the existing data is not comparable.
- Almost all Member States reported elaborate procedures in place for dealing with unaccompanied minors going missing, which are often identical and/or similar to the procedures for the national/EU children who disappear. At the same time several NGOs noted that, in their experience, there are discrepancies between existing frameworks in place and the practice.
- The authorities responsible for dealing with cases of missing unaccompanied minors make an assessment of the urgency of the case. Often this includes an assessment of whether there are worrying circumstances surrounding the disappearance.
- There is no uniform mechanism for cross-border cooperation. Nevertheless, missing person alerts in the Schengen Information System (SIS) and the exchange of supplementary information on these alerts amongst the SIRENE Bureau are widespread.
- Member States have implemented systems to ensure that data is kept up to date and to avoid duplication; however, some gaps and weaknesses were identified in the collection and updating of the data.
- Some good practices in the collection of data on missing children have been detected such as collection of data at centralized level on missing children, either at the reception centres level or by using a dedicated database on missing children.