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Many child refugees disappear

OVER the past five years Slovak authorities have recorded 775 cases of children who arrived to Slovakia from their home countries without their parents. Most of them then ran away from the children’s home in Slovakia and have never been found, the Human Rights League (HRL) reported on October 28.

OVER the past five years Slovak authorities have recorded 775 cases of children who arrived to Slovakia from their home countries without their parents. Most of them then ran away from the children’s home in Slovakia and have never been found, the Human Rights League (HRL) reported on October 28.

“In underdeveloped countries … there are many families that decide to sell all of their belongings or significantly encumber themselves,” said Katarína Fajnorová from HRL, as quoted by the TASR newswire, “only so that they can send at least one of their children to safety, so that at least this one child can [enjoy better prospects] for the future.”

Most of the children arrive to 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, others after several months. Statistics from the HRL say that as many as 90 percent of the apprehended children go missing.

Fajnorová added that before the children disappear they are often heard talking intensively on mobile phones to strangers who pick them up or have a taxi retrieve them after they escape.

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

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

HRL believes that children who apply for asylum in Slovakia should not be placed in adult refugee camps to assure that they are separated from adults who can mediate contacts with traffickers.

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