The Secretary General of the Federation Missing Children Europe, Aagje Leven, said that it is highly indicative that between 2014 and 2017, 30,000 immigrant children were lost and therefore the whole system has failed. During a Malta conference organised by the President’s Foundation for the Welfare of Society, a number of recommendations were drawn up for this problem to be tackled at European level as well as by African countries.
According to the network of European migration the 30,000 missing children were escaping from bad conditions in their own countries. Aagje Leven said the disappearance of these children happened because among other matters, bad conditions are to be found in centres that receive immigrants, a lack of information about rights and a lack of cooperation between frontiers. She emphasised that great efforts are needed in Europe for the problem to be rectified.
Leven said “at the moment at European level there are challenges due to elections in May and we do see in the council voices who are divisive and we need advocates for inclusion”.
Dr Maria Pisani said the scope of the conference is to give a voice to immigrant children who undertake their journey alone.
Dr Pisani said “we hear about migration a lot in the headlines but very little about children travelling on their own and what they face in their day to day experiences”.
Dr Ruth Farrugia, the Director General of the President’s Foundation, said that some of these children end up as victims of human trafficking.
President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca said the recommendations made by the conference should be discussed at European level as well as by African countries for a solution to be found to this scourge. The President said there is a need for discussions with countries of origin and the countries they transit. She maintained the EU should develop better security systems for these children.