A child is declared missing almost every day in Greece, the head of the Greek Police’s (ELAS) missing persons unit, Nikolaos Zervakakos, said on Monday, adding that family members must file a missing persons report as soon as their child disappears.
Presenting police data at an event to mark International Missing Children’s Day on May 25, organized by Greek charity The Smile of the Child (Hamogelo tou Paidiou), he said that 299 children went missing in the country in 2018, of whom 123 were boys and 176 were girls.
Ninety-six of those boys and 161 of the girls were found. In the first four months of the year, 45 boys and 71 girls disappeared in Greece, or whom 39 and 58 respectively were returned home.
This data put the recovery rate at 85.9 percent for 2018 and 82.2 percent for the first fourth months of 2019, which is the highest in Europe and one of the highest in the world, Zervakakos said. Most disappearances were recorded in region of Attica.
The numbers are worse for unaccompanied refugee children: Last year, 1,110 disappeared, of whom only 421 were found, while from January to April this year, 404 went missing, of whom only 137 have been found.
However, Zervakakos said the recovery rate is believed to be much higher, because parents often find their children but forget to notify authorities.
The largest number of disappearances concerns teenagers aged 13 to 18, while children younger than 12 are usually abducted by a parent.