Concern over rise in unaccompanied minors who go missing
The numbers of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who go missing in Sweden has almost doubled this year, reports SVT News West.
So far this year, over 500 children who arrived alone in Sweden and had their asylum applications rejected, have gone underground - nearly twice as many as last year, reports SVT News.
Authorities have no idea where the children have gone. Many of them are forced to live rough on the streets.
"We see them on the street and in our cafe for vulnerable people. There are more and more who are in a very vulnerable situation and who have nowhere to go," says Annika Ström-Oberg, area manager at the Gothenburg rescue mission, to SVT.
Statistics from the Migration Agency show that 560 unaccompanied children have disappeared, compared to 288 last year.
Over 320 of the children who arrived in Sweden without parents who have gone missing since 2010 were aged between 13 and 15 at the time of their disappearance. Others are even younger; 167 were aged between 7 and 12 when they went missing and 190 children were under 7, reports SVT News.
According to Annika Ström-Öberg at the Gothenburg rescue mission, those living on the streets are in danger of being exploited.
"It's easy to get drawn into criminal gangs, drug abuse, people trafficking and prostitution," she says to SVT.
In 2015, 88,265 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum in the EU, three times as many as in 2014.