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Underage migrants from poor countries disappear without a trace

OVER the past five years the Slovak authorities have recorded 775 cases of children who have come to Slovakia from their home countries without their parents, the Human Rights League reported on October 28.

OVER the past five years the Slovak authorities have recorded 775 cases of children who have come to Slovakia from their home countries without their parents, the Human Rights League reported on October 28.

Human Rights League lawyer Katarína Fajnorová further stated that many of the children who have been placed in children’s homes in Slovakia have disappeared. They presumably ended up in the hands of human traffickers.

“In underdeveloped countries that are suffering from unrest, starvation and a lack of opportunities there are many families that decide to sell all of their belongings ... only so that they can send at least one of their children to safety, so that at least this child can enjoy better prospects for the future,” Fajnorová said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

Fajnorová went on to observe that people from countries such as Somalia and Afghanistan view Europe as a land of countless opportunities governed by justice. Older children (aged 15-17) sent to Europe are often expected to earn money and send it back home.

Most of the children arrive in Slovakia through the Ukrainian border, where they are picked up by the foreign police and placed in the children’s home in Medzilaborce (Prešov Region). Some of the children disappear after just two days at the facility, while some stay for months before disappearing. According to the statistics, as many as 90 percent of the apprehended children go missing, TASR wrote.

“Most recently, three boys from Vietnam were reported to have tied blankets together and climbed down from a window at night,” Fajnorová said, as quoted by TASR.

The lawyer added that before the children go missing they are often heard talking intensively on mobile phones to strangers, who most probably give them instructions as to how to escape the facility. Then the strangers pick them up or have a taxi retrieve them.

“We are not aware of their fate, or what has happened to them, and none of our authorities are searching for them,” the lawyer warned, as quoted by TASR, adding that the children may end up as victims of prostitution, or forced to commit petty crimes, go out begging, undergo a life of domestic slavery and/or donate body organs.

Fajnorová further said that this is how they pay their debts to traffickers for their trip to Europe, for example.

The Human Rights League believes that children who apply for asylum in Slovakia should not be placed in refugee camps to make sure that they are separated from adults, who often drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and can mediate contacts with traffickers. Slovakia should also begin keeping records of children who go missing and should search for them, as is done in the case of Slovak children.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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