Nearly 6,000 refugee children were recorded as missing in Germany in 2015.
A new report carried out by the Funke Mediengruppe newspaper stated this week that 5,835 unaccompanied refugee minors vanished in Germany last year with as many as 555 of them under the age of 14.
The majority of unaccompanied minors were from Afghanistan, Syria, Eritrea, Morocco and Algeria.
Press TV reports: German Interior Ministry spokesman Johannes Dimroth confirmed media reports that the government had recently informed parliament about the disappearance of nearly 6,000 refugee children.
Dimroth added that the actual number of the missing children could be even slightly higher than the current statistics. He, however, could not give reasons for their disappearance.
Berlin has come under fire by politicians of the Green Party for not taking serious actions to address the problem.
German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs spokeswoman Verena Herb, however, said the government is very sensitive about the problem, and has recently taken new legal and practical measures to address it.
“We cannot rule out that these children and teenagers might fall into the hands of criminals,” Herb noted.
She said new reception centers will be opened especially for unaccompanied children and teenagers, and federal states will improve the exchange of information as well as improving the registration system.
German authorities believe that a proportion of the disappeared refugee children could have been taken by their relatives in Germany or elsewhere in Europe, and in many cases these are not reported to officials and not reflected in statistics.
In February, the EU police agency Europol said more than 10,000 unaccompanied refugee children have gone missing after arriving in Europe over the past 18-24 months
Several members of the European Parliament said late last month that missing underage refugees might be victims of criminal organizations involved in sex, slavery or organ trafficking.
Europol said they feared that many missing refugee children may had fallen into the hands of organised trafficking syndicates warning that pan-European gangs are targeting minors for sex work and slavery