About 30 children and adolescents disappear every day in Italy, the majority are foreigners but also the most difficult to trace compared to Italians because they enter the country illegally, they are inserted into the protection circuit from which they often drift away causing traces to be lost. On the occasion of the ‘International Day of Missing Children “ established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1983, the Government Commissioner for Missing Persons announced that in the first four months of 2022 3,589 children disappeared: 2,409 foreigners and 1,180 Italians. The percentage of finds is 72.11% for Italians, but only 31.17% for foreigners.
According to the data present in the Ced of the Ministry of the Interior, in 2021 there were a total of 12,117 children missing, of which 3,324 were Italians and 8,793 were foreigners. Here, too, the percentage of findings was 79.27% for Italians and only 26.35% for foreigners. Missing Italian minors are often victims of family and relational hardships such as drugs, debts, cyberbullying, web solicitation, cases of revenge porn.
Other cases, on the other hand, concern minors who are victims of family or parental disputes.
To combat this phenomenon, the police recommend, the timeliness of the report is important as the first hours following the disappearance are crucial for the searches and for the safety of the minor. Among the tools available, you can contact the 1-1-2 single emergency number or the single European number 116000 in Italy active thanks to a protocol between the Ministry of the Interior and Telefono Azzurro or the YouPol App of the Police.
The president of Telephone Azzurro Ernesto Caffo who asked to implement cooperation strategies at national and international level, creating a real coordinated European network to ensure the necessary guarantees and support for minors. His concerns mainly concern minors fleeing wars, in particular the Ukrainian one, who risk being victims of trafficking and exploitation. In 2022, from January 1st to April 30th, the 116,000 ‘European single number for missing children’ handled 29 cases, of which 8 for war and two during migration, while in 2021 the minors involved in the cases managed were 222.
The Minister for Equal Opportunities and the Family Elena Bonetti also recalled the commitment of the Government through the communication campaign carried out which invites to call the emergency numbers in the event of the disappearance of minors.
For the chairman of the parliamentary committee on Childhood and Adolescence, Licia Ronzulli “the phenomenon of missing minors has now assumed an extremely worrying dimension” and indicates on the one hand to strengthen the school-family-institutions pact to identify cases of severe hardship and prevent expulsion, on the other hand to strengthen the system of protection of foreign minors who “in addition to being accepted must be adequately integrated, so as to achieve a stability that induces them not to abandon the centers or families to which they are entrusted”.