LONDON: Roughly one lone youngster refugee disappeared each week from unregulated authorities accommodations through the second half of 2021, The Impartial reported on Tuesday.
Final yr, 16 kids went lacking from accommodations housing Channel arrivals in simply 5 months.
One other 4 disappeared inside one week on the finish of November, in accordance with newly revealed figures. Half of these kids haven’t been discovered.
Many unaccompanied kids who cross the English Channel and arrive within the UK are positioned in what’s described as “inappropriate” lodge lodging, which consultants consider might put them vulnerable to abuse or exploitation.
It isn’t clear the place the lacking kids got here from, however the latest authorities figures on the ethnicities of refugees arriving in Britain by way of the Channel present that folks from Iran make up the bulk, adopted by Iraqis, Syrians and Afghans.
In response to The Impartial, lots of of unaccompanied kids are housed in 5 accommodations throughout the south of England.
Dozens of them are below the age of 14, and a small variety of unaccompanied minors are lower than 10 years outdated.
Knowledge obtained below freedom-of-information legal guidelines revealed that 16 minors went lacking from these accommodations between July 20 and Nov. 25 — roughly one per week. One other 4 went lacking from Nov. 25 to Dec. 2. Whereas 10 of them had been later accounted for, one other 10 are nonetheless lacking.
“After surviving unimaginable risks to journey right here, these kids ought to lastly have felt secure and guarded,” Bella Sankey, director of Detention Motion, advised The Impartial.
“As a substitute, Priti Patel, the house secretary, has ignored all warnings that these accommodations had been inappropriate for kids and should now take motion to search out these lacking kids earlier than it’s too late.”
Elaine Ortiz, founding father of the Hummingbird Refugee Mission, warned that a number of the kids could also be going lacking with a view to repay “money owed” accrued throughout their journey to the UK.
Throughout her work within the French metropolis of Calais, she mentioned she witnessed how kids had been taken benefit of by some adults.
“We noticed the extent of exploitation of the youngsters and younger folks in Calais by smugglers and gangs,” she added.
“We additionally heard about harassment and violence in the direction of younger folks by gang members with a view to pay their ‘money owed.’ I consider that this may increasingly contribute to the reason why kids go lacking within the UK.”
The Refugee Council mentioned it’ll finish its settlement with the federal government to supply recommendation and help to unaccompanied kids in accommodations as a result of it doesn’t consider that the long-term use of accommodations for youngster refugees “meets their wants or is acceptable.”
The council added: “These are very susceptible and traumatized kids who’ve already confronted horrible experiences and are vulnerable to neglect or at worse exploitation until all steps are taken to verify they’re stored secure.”
A authorities spokesperson mentioned it takes the problem of any youngster going lacking “extraordinarily critically,” and works “intently” with native authorities to make sure susceptible kids are “supported appropriately.”