The organization “The smile of the child” participated in the conference titled “Lost in Migration: We work together to prevent children from disappearing” that took place in Malta at the end of January. “The smile of the child” together with “Child Focus” and “Telefono Azzuro” that serve the European support line 11600 in Belgium and Italy organized a workshop pointing out what are the different guidelines that should be followed from the different involving parties in cases of child disappearances and unescorted children.
The aim of this conference was to point out that many immigrant children disappear but also the issue of many immigrant unescorted children, asking from ministers (one of them was the Greek Minister of Migration Policy Ioannis Mouzalas) to prioritize the issue of children’s rights and protection. In order to better understand the size of this issue we mention that 10000 children have disappeared in Europe according to Europol’s data, presented by “The smile of the child”. What is more, its chairman, Mr. Kostas Giannopoulos talked about the practices and methods the organization uses in order to prevent and deal with children disappearances in Greece. One of the problems is that when a child disappears nobody calls 116000 (the European support line), which can be of great help. It is worth to mention that this line has a 100% success rate, meaning that whenever it was notified for a disappearance the child was finally found every time!
Lastly, it is worth to mention that during 2016 the European support line 116000 that is coordinated by “The Smile of the Child” in Greece had 170 reported cases. Out of these, only 33 were about immigrants’ children. That does not mean that only Greek children disappear, it means that immigrants do not ask for help! If you want to get more information or professional advice about a problem you have or share a story with our community you can contact Immigrants Support Organization (OYM) at: [email protected]