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440 children died en route to Europe

Since 2018, at least 440 underage refugees and migrants have died on their way to Europe. This is evident from an open source database compiled by the non-profit network UNITED and analyzed by the journalist collective Lost In Europe.

23 Jun 2021

440 children died on their way to Europe

Since 2018, at least 440 underage refugees and migrants have died on their way to Europe. This is evident from an open source database compiled by the non-profit network UNITED and analyzed by the journalist collective Lost In Europe.

23 Jun 2021

At least 440 children died trying to get to Europe

Most of the children have died trying to reach mainland Europe from Morocco, Libya and Turkey. European countries have signed several refugee deals in recent years in hopes of controlling the arrival of refugees to Europe, such as the 'EU-Turkey deal' in 2016 and the deal between Italy and Libya in 2017. It has been suggested that these agreements would help decrease the number of drowning deaths amongst refugees in the Mediterranean. The data released today shows once again that this is not the case.

23 Jun 2021

The Spoon River of migrant children: 440 dead to reach Europe

Decomposed body found on a beach outside Jijel (Algeria), young boy found dead in Roissy in the landing gear of a plane coming from Abijan (Ivory Coast), (male, 14 years old) drowned near the Oinousses islands (Greece) while his parents fled from Erdogan's purges. The stories collected by the Lost in Europe collective of journalists in collaboration with the Dutch NGO are a merciless Spoon River. 

23 Jun 2021

440 children have died on their journey to Europe in the past three years

Since January 2018, at least 440 children have died trying to reach Europe. 35 babies died as well as 33 pregnant women. Most of the children died trying to reach the European mainland from Morocco, Libya and Turkey.

Read the VRT article
Language: Dutch
23 Jun 2021

440 children died trying to reach Europe between 2018 and 2021

On June 20, 2021, World Refugee Day, the French publication BaB el Med highlighted the initiative. They spoke to Geert Ates, campaign coordinator and director of the UNITED office in Amsterdam. His organization has created a database to document migrant deaths. Out of a total of 9,901 documented deaths between January 2018 and June 202, at least 440 children died trying to reach Europe, including 35 babies and 33 pregnant women.

Read the article
Language: French
23 Jun 2021

440 children lost their lives on the way to Europe

At least 440 children, of whom 35 were babies, and 33 pregnant women have died on the borders of Europe and within it from January 2018 to June 2021 in an effort to reach Europe.

23 Jun 2021

Adriana Homolova at the News impact Summit

One of Lost in Europe’s journalists, Adriana Homolova, shared her expertise on data at the News impact Summit. She was one of the experts for the panel ‘Democratising data: Making data a tool of effective journalism’.

16 Jun 2021

Lost in Europe. The Game, boys at the borders

Ventimiglia, Claviere, Bardonecchia, Como, Bolzano, Trieste and again Calais, Patras, Bihac and today more than ever Ceuta. There is a wide geography of borders where many minors traveling alone pass at their own risk. 10% of migrants, the statistics tell us, are young people whose traces are often lost. Listen to the second episode of the Lost in Europe podcasts, in which the route of unaccompanied minors will take you to France, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece. 

26 May 2021
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More than 18,000 migrant children go missing in Europe. “This is a story of humanity”

Mind the Children raises attention to the pressing issue of the at least 18,292 children that are lost in Europe. Read about the article by Mind the Children in which the interview Aagje Ieven, Secretary General of Missing Children Europe. Missing Children Europe is one of the organisations that has initiated the annual International Missing Children’s Day, and on this day every year, publishes a facts & figures report including new statistics on missing children in migration.: (Language: English)

25 May 2021

International Missing Children’s Day: talkshow and interview around missing children in migration

This International Missing Children’s Day (25 May) Mind the Children raises attention to the pressing issue of thousands of migrant children that go missing in Europe every year. We do that with a special episode of Free Press Unlimited’s Studio Free Press Matters on Mind the Children and an interview with Aagje Ieven, Secretary General of Missing Children Europe. Read more and watch the talkshow: (Language: English)

25 May 2021

More than 18,000 foreign minors have disappeared in Europe within three years

In three years, more than 18,000 foreign minors have disappeared in Europe. Since 2018, authorities in around 30 countries have lost track of thousands of unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents. A staggering figure that is an estimation, considering there is no precise data in multiple countries, including France.

12 May 2021

'The glass wall' Stories of unaccompanied foreign minors

From 2018 to 2020, at least 18,292 unaccompanied foreign minors have disappeared in Europe, i.e. migrant children who, after being registered and placed in centers for minors, disappear without being traced. The numbers were collected by the Lost in Europe collective of journalists ( who have been working to tell their stories for two years.  

Rudy Mescaroli of Civico Zero tells us how often when minors disappear they lead a street life exploited for drug dealing or prostitution by former unaccompanied foreign minors like them. "Sometimes after having made a journey that makes them feel heroic, through Libya, the torture, the sea, here in the face of the smallest difficulties of integration they seem to hit a 'glass wall' that they have not seen, but that hurts."

12 May 2021

The countries of origin

After registration, thousands of UAMs disappear in Europe. The map below shows the countries of origin of the minors who disappeared between 2018 and 2020. Incidentally, data on the nationalities of missing UAMs is not available in all EU countries. This visualisation was made by graphic designer Ruiter Janssen.

30 Apr 2021

99 problems with data

As a basis for our latest data bootcamp, data journalist Adriana Homolova requested all available information since October 2020 on the disappearances of UAMs in 30 European countries. Subsequently, a team of 20 experts, scientists and NGO employees, led by Lost in Europe, analysed this data over two days. Because of the corona pandemic, this was done in a zoom session.

The data that was eventually collected and analysed led to the shocking conclusion that thousands of unaccompanied migrant children are missing in Europe. This raises the question to what extent the EU is actually able or willing to protect UAMs.

In most European countries, especially in Western European countries such as the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, where there is a relatively high level of knowledge and skill in registration, the registrations contain many reservations and problems. Lost in Europe came across 99 of them. Graphic designer Ruiter Janssen mapped them out in the enclosed visualisation.

30 Apr 2021

Lost in Europe's data publication became worldnews

Is the EU really able to protect child migrants? Research shows that more than 18,000 child migrants have gone missing since arriving in Europe between 2018-2020. This is evident from data collected by Lost in Europe in 30 European countries. With our journalists in various European countries we organised a data bootcamp to find out how many Unaccompanied Minors (UAM) are disappearing in Europe. The results of this data research were published simultaneously by our cooperating media in 9 European countries and were re-published by many news outlets worldwide.

The results of the data bootcamp by Lost in Europe are visualised as follows:

18,292 UAMs are registered as missing between 2018 and 2020. In 2020 alone, some 5,500 minors were registered as missing in 10 European countries; lack of good comparable data makes research difficult. The visualisation is made by data journalist Adriana Homolova, please follow this link for the interactive map of Europe

30 Apr 2021

Nearly 17 child migrants a day vanished in Europe since 2018

Investigation finds one in six were solo and under 15, as experts say cross-border cooperation ‘nonexistent’.

At least 18,000 unaccompanied child migrants have disappeared after arriving in European countries including Greece, Italy and Germany.

An investigation by the Guardian and the cross-border journalism collective Lost in Europe found that 18,292 unaccompanied child migrants went missing in Europe between January 2018 and December 2020 – equivalent to nearly 17 children a day.

In 2020 alone, 5,768 children disappeared in 13 European countries.

22 Apr 2021

The migrant children that Europe betrays: more than 16 unaccompanied minors disappear every day

Lost in Europe's investigation: 18,000 young people have disappeared since 2018. Many trafficked and in the hands of criminals.

22 Apr 2021

18,000 unaccompanied migrant minors missing

Moussa fled his warring country of Mali at the age of 12, lived alone in Algeria, survived a Libyan prison and ended up sleeping in Termini in Rome. All this before he turned 18.
Leo left Kosovo because his family's older brothers were already at university, but the family were farmers and he was the smartest one, so he had to go to Italy to work and help his brothers support themselves. To pay for the trip they sold a tractor and a cow. These are just two of the thousands of incredible lives of children, or little more, forced to leave their countries because of war or economic problems. In Italy they are called unaccompanied foreign minors (unaccompanied minors).

read the article in Ansa
Language: Italian
20 Apr 2021

Europe: 18,292 unaccompanied minor migrants missing between 2018 and 2020

Thousands of unaccompanied minors disappear in Europe every year. The collective journalistic project Lost in Europe has compiled data to try to quantify this sad reality. This is what emerges from the work undertaken.

20 Apr 2021

18,292 unaccompanied minors disappeared in Europe in three years

2,118 children lost in Greece in three years - Research by the international network of journalists Lost in Europe

19 Apr 2021

Thousands more asylum seekers missing in Europe

Over the past three years, at least 18,000 asylum seekers have gone missing after arriving in Europe. This is apparent from data that Lost in Europe has requested from all European member states. It is impossible to say exactly how many children are involved, because no country has its records in order.

18 Apr 2021

Disappeared in Europe

More than 18,000 refugee children and young people disappeared from state care in Europe between 2018 and 2020. This is shown by data from the research association "Lost in Europe". They are in particular danger of being exploited.

18 Apr 2021

18,000 disappearances of unaccompanied children in Europe

Between 2018 and 2020, 18,292 disappearances of unaccompanied foreign minors were registered in Europe. This has emerged from a study conducted by the journalists' collective Lost In Europe, in which Knack and De Standaard participated.

18 Apr 2021

In three years more than 18,000 disappearances of unaccompanied child migrants

From 2018 to 2020, at least 18,292 disappearances of unaccompanied migrant minors from the shelters where they ended up in on their journey through Europe were reported. This is evident from figures that the research collective Lost in Europe requested from 30 European countries, both EU and non-EU countries. Chaotic registration obscures the view of the true extent of the problem.

18 Apr 2021

More than 18,000 migrant children have disappeared

Together with 8 other European publications, Libertatea publishes an analysis by the Lost in Europe team of journalists, which reveals how tens of thousands of unaccompanied minor migrants continue to disappear from the sight of EU authorities. Romania does not even collect data on this group at risk of human trafficking and modern slavery, even though it is a transition country for migrants seeking to reach Western Europe.

Read full story: Over 18,000 migrant children have disappeared from European reception centres in two years. Romania is a country in transition but has no data on them.

18 Apr 2021
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Join our online Databootcamp on 11 and 12 March

After the success of the first Databootcamp in October 2018, Lost in Europe is organising the Second Databootcamp on Thursday and Friday 11&12 March 2021. This time it's online!
We will be counting the disappearances of migrant children. Which figures are there, which are not? In our research into the numbers of disappearances, Lost in Europe discovered that there is a large discrepancy in the figures. According to Missing Children Europe, 30,000 newcomers went missing in Europe between 2014 and 2017. What are the most recent figures? What is lacking in international cooperation and detection by European national governments and the police in the protection of children? What does jurisprudence say? And how can Lost in Europe create clear storytelling about these facts and figures?

Are you an expert on migration or do you work for an NGO specialised in human trafficking and children's rights? Then join the data bootcamp and help us for two days to better understand and visualise this complex problem.

Depending on your busy schedule, you can choose to attend all sessions or just share your expertise in the expert sessions. Please e-mail Geesje van Haren for more information:

4 Mar 2021
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NEW: Lost in Europe on Instagram

NEW: Lost in Europe on Instagram! Support our work, show your interest in the thousands of missing child migrants and follow the stories we recover at:

21 Nov 2020
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Advent calendar. Get yours now

We have something interesting coming up for you: our Lost in Europe advent calendar! Unlock a new story every day on our brand new website. 24 Stories await, starting December 1st until December 24th. Don't want to miss a single story? Sign up for our advent mail here

19 Nov 2020


The #UnmaskTheTruth campaign supports journalists who are committed to unmasking the truth. Free Press Unlimited spoke with Sanne Terlingen, one of the founders of Lost in Europe. You can read the article here.

9 Sep 2020

At least 150 asylum seekers can be traced back to the COA data breach

After a data breach at the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA), 150 suspected victims of human trafficking and smuggling may have been at risk. This is evident from a response from the COA, which accidentally published nearly 1,200 reports of suspected human trafficking on its site in June.

30 Aug 2020
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Geesje van Haren in Emerging Stories

Co-founder Geesje van Haren explains in this video (English, 15mins.) how and why the Lost in Europe collective of journalists started, and what has been achieved to date. She talks about the Argos revelations by Sanne Terlingen. Geesje also shows the work she did in Sicily with Ahmet Polat and Dan Archer for National Geographic on missing refugee minors and highlights the work of Lost in Europe 's media partners The Guardian and NRC.

Watch the video 'Journalism in isolation' of Pakhuis de Zwijger's Emerging Stories here.

20 Jun 2020
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Panel discussion on 'Media Narratives on Migrants'

Lost in Europe's Ismail Einashe will be speaking on this panel discussion on 'Media Narratives on Migrants during Covid-19' at 6:30 pm (IST), 23 June 2020 Tuesday. The discussion will focus on the coverage and characterisation of migrants by mainstream media during this global pandemic. 

20 Jun 2020

Nearly 14,000 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in the EU in 2019

Eurostat figures show that in 2019 13,800 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in the 27 EU Member States. That is almost 20% less compared to 2018. Two thirds of the unaccompanied children were between 16 and 17 years old. No less than 11% of the children were younger than 14 years old. The majority asked for asylum in either Greece, Germany and Belgium.

28 Apr 2020

Procecutor Warner Ten Kate: 'Many children are still running away'

For at least fifteen years, children have been disappearing from asylum centers. Now they are Vietnamese. Time for action, says Warner ten Kate. Warner ten Kate, national prosecutor in charge of human trafficking, had a flashback when he read the investigation into the disappearance of Vietnamese children from asylum centers late last month. Wait a minute, Ten Kate says on the phone, and he searches his digital archive. 'Shall I just read it?'

10 Apr 2020

30,000 migrant children disappeared in Europe between 2014 and 2017

In early 2016, Europol's top official Brian Donald told British newspaper "The Observer" that at least 10,000 unaccompanied migrants and refugee children have disappeared since 2014 after arriving in Europe. At the time, Donald stated that it would probably be more than 10,000 children and that this figure would be a "conservative" figure. Meanwhile, the European Migration Network, which is funded by the European Union and coordinated by the European Commission, estimates that 30,000 children traveling alone have disappeared between 2014 and 2017.

12 Mar 2020

19,845 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum in the EU in 2018

In 2018, 19,845 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in the EU, according to Eurostat. This figure is much lower than in the previous years, in 2017 31,400 children applied for asylum and 63,250 children in 2016. More than half of them came from one of these 6 countries; Afghanistan (16%), Eritrea (10%), Pakistan or Syria (both 7%) and Guinea or Iraq (6%).

2 Mar 2020

177 children disappeared from the Asylum Seeker' Center Oisterwijk, NL

In ten years, 2,500 children disappeared from asylum centers. There is little one can do about it.

12 Jan 2020

Frugal reception does not detain asylum children

The guidance of minor asylum seekers is inadequate. More than 1,600 children ran away from reception locations for asylum seekers in the past 4.5 years, according to figures requested by NRC this week. It is not known where they are of the runaway children under the age of eighteen.

6 Nov 2019

1600 children disappeared from asylum centers

Over 1,600 asylum children have run away from reception locations in the past 4.5 years. The children have left “with an unknown destination” and it is not clear where they are now. This is evident from figures that NRC requested from the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) and Nidos, which has custody of all unaccompanied minors in the Netherlands. The numbers are higher than known so far, because the Nidos figures were not included earlier. NRC is part of the international journalist collective "Lost in Europe" that investigates runaway asylum children.

2 Jun 2019

Many children disappear from shelter

In the past five years, at least sixty Vietnamese children 'with an unknown destination' have disappeared from protected shelter in the Netherlands. These children, especially teenagers, are part of a larger group of 1,080 underage asylum seekers who disappeared from different locations of the immigration shelter between 2013 and 2017, and of whom no one knows where they are.

29 Mar 2019

Hundreds of trafficked children 'lost' by local authorities

A quarter of trafficked children who were in the care of local authorities in the UK last year have gone missing from the system, according to new research by two British charities that work with vulnerable children. These figures raise serious questions about the capacity of local authorities to provide a safe environment for vulnerable children who arrive in the UK alone, or after being rescued from trafficking gangs.

15 Dec 2018

'Lost in Europe' in search of thousands of missing migrant children

Thousands of refugee children have gone missing after arriving in Europe. How is that possible? Why does no one know where they are and what happened? And why doesn't anyone know exactly how many there are? Two years ago, Europol named the number of 10,000 missing refugee children. It was an estimate. They fear the children will become victims of criminal networks. Yet nothing has changed since then. In fact, this week, Europol reports that there is still no insight into the number of refugee children who are victims of human traffickers. "But a future increase is expected." How can thousands of children just disappear in Europe? And does this also happen in the Netherlands? The international journalist collective 'Lost in Europe' is looking.

27 Oct 2018