Missing Children Publication Hub
Unaccompanied Migrant Children
Organization: University of Bristol
Published In: 2015
Country: European Union
Connections between actors involved in reception and protection of children
(by Nadine Finch)
Our paper is based on the research we undertook on the EU funded CONNECT project on Identifying good practice in, and improving, the connections between actors involved in reception, protection and integration of unaccompanied children in Europe. The research looked at law and practice in Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom and one of the three particular areas of research was the disappearance of unaccompanied and separated migrant and trafficked children.
One of the starting points for the research was the concern in the EU Action Plan on Unaccompanied Minors (2010-2014) about the number of unaccompanied children who did go missing. We found that in some countries there were mechanisms already in place which provided some protection to unaccompanied migrant and trafficked children. These included well developed legal guardianship services, National Referral Mechanisms for identifying trafficked children and Multi Agency Safeguarding Hubs, which co-located all professionals with child protection duties. In other countries, we found that professionals had presumed that children merely went missing because they wished to travel on to another EU state and had not properly considered the risks posed to these children by adults who sought to exploit them. The paper will focus on three particular groups of children, which exemplify different aspects of this phenomenon. These will be children exploited in cannabis factories, children who are involved in street begging and crime and children who are trafficked within a country for the purpose of sexual exploitation. In relation to the last category we will build on the work being carried out in the United Kingdom in relation to missing children who have been subjected to child sexual exploitation.
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