Child rights organisations Unicef Nederland and Defence for Children have slammed the way 290 migrant children disappeared from official care institutions last year and in most cases their disappearance was not investigated.
In 30 cases the children were living in special accommodation set up to house children who are thought to be vulnerable to human trafficking. The total of 290 disappearances is a sharp rise on 2015, the organisations said in a new report.
The report also criticises the amnesty for child refugees, saying it is little more than a sham because so few children qualify.
Last year, almost every request to stay was rejected, even though the children concerned had lived in the Netherlands for more than five years, the organisations said.
To qualify for the amnesty, launched in 2012, children should have lived in the Netherlands for at least five years and not been out of contact with the Dutch authorities for more than three months.
On balance, however, the situation facing children in the Netherlands has improved over the past 10 years, director Suzanne Laszlo said.
‘There are still some difficult nuts to crack, like the disappearance of migrant children, the poor enactment of the amnesty and the lack of figures about child abuse,’ she said. These areas, she said, should all be priorities for the next government to tackle.
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