Until the EU recognises the specific needs of child migrants and makes it a priority to swiftly reunite them with family members, Jenny Allsopp and I argue in an op-ed published in OpenDemocracy, many will likely continue to abscond from the reception system.

The ‘disappearance’ of 10,000 migrant children after arriving in the EU made recently headlines in British newspapers and across the world. The Observer reported data from Europol, the EU’s criminal intelligence agency, drawing an explicit link between the fact that thousands of young migrants had vanished after registering with EU state authorities and the alleged intervention of a ‘sophisticated pan-European criminal infrastructure’ that is ‘targeting minors for sex abuse and slavery’. But does this speak to the reality? In the OpenDemocracy piece we explain why the answer may not be so straightforward.