Sanne Terlingen is an investigative reporter currently working for Argos, the main investigative radio programme in the Netherlands. She primarily reports on migration, trafficking, child sexual abuse and organized crime. Terlingen has won multiple awards, including the Dick Scherpenzeel Award for “Excellent Reporting on Foreign Affairs” for an investigation into the mysterious death of an Eritrean asylum seeker, and the Mercur Award for her story “Sex, Spies and Soldiers” on the role of U.S. contractors involved in sex trafficking in Djibouti. Terlingen is also an Ochberg Fellow at the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University Journalism School.



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

Confirmed: 'Trade with Vietnamese children across Europe'

“Vietnamese criminal organizations are active all over Europe”. This is what Carsten Moritz, director of the human trafficking department of the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), the federal criminal investigation department of Germany, says in an interview with the RBB, the Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg. The groups are involved in human trafficking on a large scale. "But that smuggling serves a purpose: labor exploitation." In many cases this is human trafficking, says the BKA chief. According to him, there are also minors among the victims. Moritz responds to research that the RBB has conducted in recent months together with Argos (VPRO / HUMAN). Tonight on Germany 1 a television documentary about this.

Language: Dutch
18 Jan 2021

Interview Adrian Bartocha: 'This is serious organized crime'

Interview with investigative journalist Adrian Bartocha on human trafficking with Vietnamese minors in Europe. He and Jan Wiese of the RBB, the Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, saw the Argos investigation into the disappearance of dozens of Vietnamese children in the Netherlands and started their own investigation. They discovered that many more Vietnamese children have disappeared in Germany and that there is organized human trafficking.

Language: Dutch
18 Jan 2021

"Dutch Police should have intervened on last voyage of Vietnamese Essex victims"

The Vietnamese boys Hieu and Quyen died in the smuggling drama in Essex. During their last trip they were under observation by the Dutch police all the way into Belgium, but they did not intervene. This should have been, say two professors.

23 Jan 2021

The last journey of Quyen and Hieu

In October 2019, 39 dead bodies were found in a refrigerated truck in Essex - near London. The victims are all from Vietnam. They died from overheating and suffocation. Two of them, Tran Ngoc Hieu (17) and Dinh Dinh Thai Quyen (just 18), turn out to have run away from the Protected Shelter in The Netherlands near Maastricht twelve days earlier.

23 Jan 2021

Sanne Terlingen tells about the last voyage of Quyen and Hieu on tv

Co-founder of Lost in Europe and investigative journalist Sanne Terlingen tells on national television about the crossborder investigation into the last voyage of Quyen and Hieu. These two Vietnamese boys were captured in protected shelters in the Netherlands. Yet they, and 37 other migrants were killed in the Essex disaster. Watch Sanne's television performance from minute 22 at the Dutch 5 Uur Show at SBS6.

25 Jan 2021

The last journey of Quyen and Hieu

Argos again pays attention to the fate of Vietnamese children after their arrival in Europe. Two years ago, we revealed that at least 60 Vietnamese children were missing from shelters that should protect them from human traffickers. After that broadcast, a major investigation was launched into "the nature and extent of Vietnamese human trafficking in the Netherlands". In Belgium and Germany, fellow journalists are also putting the subject on the political agenda. The German colleagues made this documentary (English subtitles) about it.

How could things - despite the attention of politicians and police - end so badly with Hieu and Quyen? For the first time, Quyen and Hieu's lawyer tells their story. And, with the help of Belgian and German colleagues from Lost in Europe, we find new puzzle pieces about the last, fatal journey of the two boys.

18 Mar 2021

Documentary screening Uncovered festival

Today, the Uncovered Conference features the Lost in Europe documentary ‘Children as Commodities: The Human Trafficking Mafia’. Are you joining us for the screening?

The documentary tells the story of how it’s possible that Vietnamese children and young people have been disappearing in Germany for years. And it shows the networks of human traffickers that are behind it. The documentary was made by investigative journalists Jan Wiese and Adrian Bartocha. After the screening there is a Q&A where you have the opportunity to submit your questions to Jan Wiese, Adrian Bartocha and Sanne Terlingen

Sign up using this link and be there at 15:45 CEST!

14 Apr 2021

We are nominated for an IJ4EU Impact Award!

We are happy to tell you that Lost in Europe is nominated for an IJ4EU Impact Award! This nomination is for the ungoing investigation for the Vietnamese migrant files. The winners of the awards will be announced tonight at 18:00 CEST. Register for #uncovered to follow the award ceremony live. Only three projects can win, so keep your fingers crossed for us!

14 Apr 2021

Lost in Europe is nominated

Our investigation into the disappearence of Vietnamese children is nominated and on the shortlist for the #IJ4EU impact award European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF).

12 Feb 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

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

Prix Europa nominates two Lost in Europe stories

We are honored that both the radio story 'The Final Journey of Quyen and Hieu', made by founder Sanne Terlingen, and the tv-documentary 'Handelsware Kind' by Adrian Bartocha and Jan Wiese have been nominated in categories Radio Current Affairs and TV Current Affairs by the Prix Europa. The awards will be presented on 10-15 October, find more info here.

5 Oct 2021

Nigerian girls: missing but not missed

More than twenty-five years ago, the Netherlands was first confronted with young single asylum seekers who disappeared from reception. Dozens of Nigerian girls disappeared from the shelter of the Valentijn Foundation in Nunspeet. “We found that they had a telephone number, for example on the inside of a bra strap,” says one of the employees at the time. "So they called, and a day later they were gone." Today the same thing is happening all over again.

Listen at VPRO Argos
Language: Dutch
6 Jun 2020

Dutch governmnent has known about missing Vietnamese children for years

The Dutch government has known for over five years that Vietnamese children go missing from protected shelters. Signs of human smuggling and trafficking have also been clearly reported to authorities. This is shown by quarterly reports of protected reception centres Jade and Xonar, that Argos and Lost in Europe have obtained.

read at VPRO Argos
Language: Dutch
9 Mar 2020

'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

GroenLinks: 'Aliens Act does not properly regulate the rights of asylum children'

Current immigration laws can have heartbreaking consequences for children, says Bram van Ojik, Dutch Member of Parliament of GroenLinks in Argos. Minors are now treated the same as adults, which is contrary to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which the Netherlands has signed, but which in practice does not comply with asylum children.

18 Jan 2020

House demands clarification about disappearing Nigerian asylum seekers

Dutch parliament members demand clarification about the disappearance of many hundreds of Nigerian asylum seekers from Dutch asylum without a trace. In many cases there are signs of human trafficking. "We should be ashamed. We cannot allow the Netherlands to play a major role in this. It shows that too little police capacity has been released and that international cooperation leaves something to be desired", one Member said.

6 Jun 2020

Hundreds of Nigerians disappeared from Shelters

Almost a thousand Nigerian asylum seekers disappeared without a trace from the Dutch reception centers last year: an explosive increase. There are many signs of human trafficking and even baby trafficking is a serious scenario for the police. Reports indicate that criminal Nigerian organizations have gained more foothold in Europe.

5 Jun 2020

Dutch authorities issue alert over missing prenant asylum seekers

Dutch authorities issue an alert over the vanishing of at least 25 heavily pregnant African women and girls housed in asylum shelters in the Netherlands. Our investigators reveal that unaccompanied minors, pregnant women and those with newborn babies, continue to disappear on a weekly basis from shelters across the country. Trafficking and illegal adoption are feared.

read in The Guardian
Language: English
4 Mar 2020

Pregnant African asylum seekers vanish from Shelter

In recent months, dozens of pregnant women, mostly Nigerians, have disappeared from Dutch asylum shelters. There are serious concerns about the plight of the women and their babies. It is unknown where they go, where they give birth and what happens to the babies. The Expertise Center explicitly states that it is "seriously concerned" about their fate. "It is not inconceivable that both the women and the newborn children are or become victims of human traffickers, illegal adoption or voodoo rituals".

19 Feb 2020

Vietnamese children vanish from Dutch shelters to be trafficked into Britain

The findings of the investigation raise serious questions about the efforts of EU states to prevent the trafficking of vulnerable children, and highlight the failings of the British and Dutch authorities to care for unaccompanied minors properly. There are more Vietnamese children than any other nationality identified or suspected of being trafficked into the UK.

30 Mar 2019

Dozens of Vietnamese children disappeared from protected shelter

At least sixty Vietnamese children disappeared after their arrival in the Netherlands. For the past five years, they had been placed in protected reception centers for unaccompanied minors who are at high risk of becoming victims of human trafficking.

30 Mar 2019

Indications of human trafficking confirmed

After our journalists revealed last year that 60 Vietnamese children vanished from a protected shelter that should have protected them from being trafficked, the entire House of Representatives demanded an investigation. Argos zooms in on the main findings of the report. How thorough was the research done? What has been discovered? And has that been neatly presented by the State Secretary?

28 Mar 2020

State secretary pretends missing Vietnamese children have gone backpacking

In a letter to the House of Representatives, the State Secretary pretends that Vietnamese minors use protected asylum centers as hostels. Anyone who reads the underlying report sees a failing approach to human smuggling and human trafficking. Dutch Rapporteur Mensenhandel says The Netherlands acts too little with signals of human trafficking.

25 Mar 2020

Vietnamese victim of truck drama disappeared from Dutch shelter

One of the 39 Vietnamese found dead in a refrigerated truck in Essex, England, stayed in the Netherlands prior to his crossing. It concerns a minor boy who "with unknown destination" disappeared from the protected shelter. A spokesperson for the COA (Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers) confirms this to our journalists at Argos.

23 Nov 2019

Second victim of truck drama Essex also stayed in Dutch shelters

Not one, but two victims of the truck drama in Essex stayed in a sheltered shelter in the Netherlands prior to their death. This has emerged from an identification investigation by the police, the COA (Central Organ for Asylum-seekers intake) confirms to Argos and NRC Handelsblad when asked.

23 Mar 2020

Vietnamese children vanished from protected shelters. And our government knew

The Dutch government has known for over five years that Vietnamese children go missing from protected shelters. Signs of human smuggling and trafficking have also been clearly reported to authorities. This is shown by quarterly reports of protected reception centres Jade and Xonar, that Argos and Lost in Europe have obtained.

read at VPRO Argos
Language: Dutch
11 Mar 2020

Essex drama suspects in Belgium in court

The trial against the suspects, who according to the Belgian Justice Department were involved in the fatal transport of 39 Vietnamese to the British town of Essex, started this week in the Bruges court. It has been two years since their dead bodies were found by British police in a refrigerated container.

16 Dec 2021