10,000 refugee children are missing, (Europol)

10,000 refugee children are missing, (Europol)

It’s another tragic aspect of the migrants’ crisis: at least 10,000 unaccompanied child refugees have disappeared over the past two years after arriving in Europe, according to the EU’s criminal intelligence agency.

Many of these children are feared to have fallen into the hands of criminal groups.

In an interview with the Observer, the sister publication of the Guardian, Europol’s chief of staff, Brian Donald, said half of the missing children disappeared in Italy.

According to the agency, minors accounted for 27 percent of the refugees who arrived in Europe last year.

Europol warns that unaccompanied children are especially vulnerable to traffickers who exploit them for sex work and slavery.

About a million migrants, mostly Syrians, Iraqis and Eritreans fleeing their country, arrived in Europe in 2015, says Europol.