Independent activist team with Novaya-Europe’s support launches Kidmapping, a project to find kids deported from Ukraine

An independent team of activists in collaboration with Novaya Gazeta Europe and Greenhouse of Social Technologies has launched Kidmapping, a project that seeks to track and find children who were forcibly deported from Ukraine into Russia.

Kidnapping also cooperates with humanitarian organisations which work on bringing these kids home.

The project team notes that it’s vital to find where the children were taken to. Russian authorities do not publish any open reports or lists which prompts the team to use open sources to track them: news, reports, social media platforms, video hostings, and others. An interactive information map that helps to track children forms the basis of the project.


The map shows several types of clusters:

  • red — “high probability of children located there”. Most frequently, these are orphanages and children’s camps.
  • yellow — “children have been there at some point”. These are camps, universities, and temporary residence sites. This is where reporters arrive, take interviews, and take kids with them for PR operations.
  • grey — general database of possible places where children could be located but no reports were found to prove it.


The project team is looking for the children using the aforementioned open sources. For instance, pro-Kremlin Telegram channels sometimes post information about children’s trips. It can also be found in news archives, official websites of state institutions, news reports, and VK, a Russian social media platform. These sources also can post photos of children which are then sent to humanitarian agencies.

The team found more than 250 points of interest with various degrees of verifiability in the past six months. Activists say that the deported kids rarely show up on the system that registers orphans, while the children are housed in sanatoriums or other places where they enjoy no legal status or protections.

It is currently impossible to ascertain how many Ukrainian children have been deported. However, the project team notes that official numbers provided by Moscow and Kyiv are drastically different: Ukraine reports at least 20,000 such children, while Russian children’s rights commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova put this number at 1,500-2,000 kids.

“We believe that the real number can be higher and will likely increase throughout the war and forcibly evacuations of civilians.”

“Particularly because there are children whose parents or caregivers have died or are in captivity (as prisoners of war or civilian hostages) and, therefore, cannot report their children missing,” Kidmapping note.

Photo: Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Photo: Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Remembrance is another part of the project.

“We are aware of many deportations of the past, used as instruments of colonisation in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, which, however, have not been condemned or given the attention they deserve. Data on them and the number of victims is classified,” the team stresses.

“This project is also part of remembrance, an affirmation of the crime.”

The team also said that “transportation of children ‘on holiday’ from the territories of the so-called DPR and LPR took place throughout the past nine years”.

Kidnapping have joined forces with Every Human Being human rights organisation to draft a list of actions that parents and guardians of Ukrainian children should take. The first step is to seek help from humanitarian organisations. Deported children are advised to do the same.

Those in need can appeal to Every Human Being and Save Ukraine. People can also email or send a direct message on Instagram to contact Kidmapping, the appeals will then be referred to the relevant organisation.

You can support Kidmapping financially through Every Human Being or on the project’s Patreon project.

Editor in chief — Kirill Martynov. Terms of use. Privacy policy.