The German Red Cross (DRK) has received 2,700 inquiries from migrants searching for missing relatives in the country this year. About 1,000 are unaccompanied minors.
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, the organisation considers the figures too high considering the drop in migrant arrivals in 2017.
“Most frightening is the consistently high number of unaccompanied minor refugees, who are either looking for their own family or are sought by them,” said German Red Cross President Gerda Hasselfeldt. “For families, there is nothing worse than not knowing whether a relative is still alive or what might have happened to them.
“Since identifying the dead on various migration routes isn’t always possible, many [of the missing persons’] fates will remain unclear,” he added.
According to DW, there are many factors behind a person’s disappearance, including death, kidnapping and being sold into slavery. However, sometimes a migrant will apply for asylum with different authorities in several countries, which can create issues with reporting on where a person is located.
As regards missing children, law enforcement agencies across Europe have warned that unaccompanied minors are most prone to exploitation from criminal organisations.