Facts and figures

250,000 children are reported missing every year in the EU, 1 child every 2 minutes.

Despite this huge number, it is hard to collect comprehensive data about why these children go missing and what happens when they do across countries in Europe due to differing data collection methods. However Missing Children Europe's has supported the development of a customed Clent Relationship and Data collection system that will be rolled out in 8 countries in Europe by 2017. This system will allow for a coherent and systematic collection of comparable data that can then be used to research and better understand the problem and possible solutions to the issue of child disappearances.

Missing Children Europe also collects data from the network of European hotlines for missing children operated via the 116 000 number in 29 countries in Europe. This data is collected annually and published via a data report that gives insight on the ages, reasons of going missing, the number of children that are found etc related to missing children trends in Europe.

 Figures and Trends for missing children in 2015 (from the hotlines for missing children and Cross-Border Family Mediators)*

 Read the missing children data report for 2014 (from the hotlines for missing children and Cross-Border Family Mediators)*

 Missing children in the European Union Mapping, data collection and statistics (European Commission)

* Please credit Missing Children Europe when referring to our data reports on missing children



Missing children 

250 000 children are reported missing every year in the European Union, 1 child every 2 minutes. - European Commission

Missing children include several types of child disappearances, including runaways, parental abductions, missing unaccompanied migrant children, criminal abductions and lost, injured or otherwise missing children. 

Only 1% of missing children cases reported involve third party criminal abductions. Missing Children Europe Annual Review 2015 

Our network of missing children hotlines operated through the 116 000 number received 209 841 calls in 2015 – Missing Children Europe Annual Review 2015

Runaways are 9 times likelier to contemplate suicide than other children. 

Runaways make up 54% of missing children cases reported to the 116 000 hotline. - Missing Children Europe Annual Review 2015 

1 in 6 runaways are assumed to sleep rough, 1 in 8 resort to stealing to survive and 1 in 12 children are at serious risk of some form of abuse. - The Children’s Society 

In Hungary during February 2016 children disappeared at a rate of 90-95% after spending 1-3 days in reception institutions. - Fundamental Rights Agency

In January 2016, the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA) reported that 4749 unaccompanied children went missing. 431 were younger than 13. - Express

89,000 unaccompanied children submitted an asylum application in the EU in 2015. 11 800 of them were less than 14 years old. - Eurostat

Parental Abductions represent 29% of missing children cases reported on the 116 000 missing children hotlines. - Missing Children Europe Figure and Trends Report 2015 

In 2015, 18% of the missing children cases opened by hotlines were cross-border in nature. - Missing Children Europe Figure and Trends Report 2015

A large majority of professionals working with unaccompanied children have never received training in preventing or responding to the disappearances of unaccompanied children. - Best practices and key challenges on interagency cooperation to safeguard unaccompanied children from going missing

Sexual exploitation and abuse

The sexual exploitation and abuse of children comprise at least the following categories: sexual abuse or assault, child prostitution, child pornography, child trafficking for sexual purposes and grooming (solicitation of children). 

1 in 5 children in Europe are victims of some form of sexual violence. In 70% to 85% of cases, the abuser is somebody the child knows and trusts. – Council of Europe 

Out of the 800 000 people trafficked annually across national borders in the world, up to 50% are children. – CIA 

2 million children are trafficked in Europe every year. – UNICEF, 2007 

75% of child sexual abuse material found online by the Internet Watch Foundation were of female victims – Internet Watch Foundation 

39% of child abuse images, the possession of which led to arrests in the US in 2000 & 2001, concerned children between ages 3-5, 19% concerned children below 3. - National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children


81% of child victims identified in child sexual abuse were 10 years or younger. - Internet Watch Foundation 

In 2007, there was a 16.4% rise in child abuse images reports processed by the Internet Watch Foundation hotline in the UK compared to the same period in 2006. - Internet Watch Foundation

While victims are increasingly younger, the abuse is proving to become increasingly more violent. - Internet Watch Foundation