Europe’s refugee crisis continues to linger, as governments have lost track of a projected 10,000 children as of 2015. The massive influx of refugees, most of which are from Syria, has been an intense subject of debate. The issue has increased tension in local communities, raised the profile of far right groups, and heightened fears about safety. Now, the EU has to deal with of thousands of children of missing children (via WSJ):
European governments are losing track of significant numbers of children who have entered the continent without their parents as refugees from war-torn areas in the Middle East and beyond.
In Belgium, authorities can’t account for 156 migrant children who entered the country unaccompanied since January 2015, and the number is growing. This year, 90 unaccompanied migrant children have been reported missing to Child Focus, Belgium’s center for missing and sexually exploited children.
In 2015, 88,245 unaccompanied children—91% of them boys—sought asylum in the European Union, and officials estimate that there are as many as 10,000 missing migrant children. This year, 90% of migrant children arriving in Italy were unaccompanied. Advocates say the families of children often pay smugglers in advance but often this depends on their nationality, with poorer migrants from Afghanistan or Eritrea forced to work for smugglers to pay for their passage.
As the United States deals with security-related issues concerning the resettlement of 10,000 refugees, Europe has taken in well over a million, with some countries, like Germany, accepting hundreds of thousands of migrants into their borders. Sweden, known to be one of the most tolerant and lenient when it comes to taking in refugees, recently had to put a stop to the practice and inform 80,000 and they will be deported from the country.
The reason: Sweden’s welfare state was buckling. In the country, a refugee is entitled to the same benefits as a full-fledged Swedish citizen. The influx was too great for the Nordic country to absorb. Moreover, there are crime issues. Almost 1,000 Syrian migrants were arrested in England and Wales for various felonies, including rape and child abuse. In Cologne, Germany, around 500 women were sexually assaulted by roving bands of migrants on New Years’ Eve.
There are also fears that ISIS could infiltrate asylum-seeking groups. Losing track of the unaccompanied minors is just another headache to this mess.