Austria lost 78% of migrant children from 2021

Nearly 4,500 underage migrants who sought asylum in Austria last year are believed to have disappeared, raising fears that some may have fallen victim to human traffickers.

Figures from the Austrian Interior Ministry reveal that 78% of the 5,770 supposedly underage migrants who tried to seek asylum in Austria last year, 4,489 people cannot be found.

The figures became known following a government question from NEOS party MP Stephanie Krisper.

Of the 5,770 underage migrants, the majority, 3,401, are believed to be Afghan nationals, followed by 1,345 Syrians and smaller numbers from Somalia, Pakistan, Egypt and Bangladesh, according to an Austrian newspaper. Standard reports.

Lisa Wolfsegger of the NGO Asylum Coordination commented on the statistics: “Imagine that in one year around 180 school classes had simply disappeared without a trace. Where have all these children gone?

While Wolfsegger noted that many underage migrants may have simply exploited the European Union’s open-border Schengen regime to travel to other European countries undetected, some may have fallen victim to drug smugglers. ‘Human being.

Disappearances of underage asylum seekers would not be properly investigated by the Austrian authorities as no government authority has custody of them.

The Austrian federal states only assume the custody obligation after the minors have been entrusted to them.

Only the city of Vienna makes an exception for minor asylum seekers in the asylum process – if the children are deemed to be under 14 years old.

The statistics are alarming in the aftermath of the wave of arrivals of millions of Ukrainian refugees in Europe, most of whom are either women or children, some of them unaccompanied.

Last month, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson expressed concern that Ukrainian refugee children could become the target of human traffickers, saying “there is a huge risk of human trafficking”. ‘vulnerable children’.

Johansson noted that unaccompanied children, some of whom were born to surrogate mothers in Ukraine, could be exploited or abducted.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or by e-mail at ctomlinson(at)

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