206 children disappeared from Norwegian asylum reception centres in 2017, according to the Directorate of Immigration, who fear that the children may have been exposed to human trafficking.
According to senior counsellor, Therese Bergwitz-Larsen, of the Immigration Directorate (UDI), most children left of their own free will.
‘But some disappearances gave cause for concern,’ she wrote in an email to Adresseavisen newspaper.
UDI’s concern is that the children have either been exposed to human trafficking or in one way or another to have been exposed to crime.
‘Therefore, we have clear alert routines for the reception centres, and routines for prevention. It is serious that unaccompanied minors leave a reception without notice, Bergwitz-Larsen wrote.
When unaccompanied minors leave reception centres without notice, the centre notifies the UDI, the police, and child welfare services.
In 2016, 182 asylum children disappeared from Norwegian reception centres. Thus, 388 children who’s been awarded asylum have disappeared in Norway in the past two years.
‘An important reason why the youth disappear is that they are terrified of returning to Afghanistan. Strong tightening in immigration policy has meant that we now deny asylum to children who would previously have received protection. This has led to a desperate situation for the youngsters,’ said ‘Redd Barnas’ special advisor for children, Camilla Scharffscher Engeset.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today