Two youngsters add to lacking ranks of underage refugees from UK motels

Two refugee youngsters who arrived within the UK with out an accompanying grownup have gone lacking from motels amid ballooning numbers of underage arrivals now dwelling in non permanent lodging.

The pair had been a part of a bunch of fifty despatched to motels in August within the weeks after a court docket dominated it was illegal to ship them there.

The brand new disappearances had been revealed by a charity preventing to finish the observe, elevating fears the youngsters have been trafficked by criminals. This yr has seen a whole bunch of kids disappear from motels and scores are believed to have by no means been discovered.

A “vital proportion” of refugee youngsters despatched to motels are aged underneath 16, some as younger as 13, the Excessive Courtroom in London heard.

The age or gender of the lacking duo weren’t revealed.

The authorities within the UK have confronted heavy criticism after a whole bunch of lone refugee youngsters, together with one aged 12, disappeared after being despatched to motels, amid fears they could have been lured away by legal gangs.

Each Youngster Protected In opposition to Trafficking has taken authorized motion in opposition to Kent County Council. Within the newest listening to its legal professionals advised the Excessive Courtroom extra youngsters have gone lacking.

Fifty lone asylum seeker youngsters have been positioned in motels by Kent since August 21 and “two have gone lacking”, mentioned Ecpat’s barrister Martin Westgate, in a written argument.

Laura Duran, the pinnacle of coverage, advocacy and analysis for Ecpat, advised The Nationwide: “These youngsters ought to have been in care and sorted by an area authority from day one.

“The truth that they’ve gone lacking, significantly whereas exterior of the kid safety system, is much more regarding, given the chance of hurt they’re more likely to be uncovered to and doubtlessly having been trafficked.

“It’s at all times a priority when you could have a toddler from a really susceptible inhabitants comparable to unaccompanied youngsters, who’ve no person within the UK with parental duty for them and so are at elevated threat from youngster trafficking.”

A group of migrants arriving at Dover after crossing the English Channel. PA

A decide has dominated the observe of housing refugee youngsters who arrive unaccompanied within the UK, almost all of them on small boats, needs to be stopped.

The court docket was advised that as of Monday, Kent County Council has 777 lone asylum seeker youngsters in its care – up from 605 in mid-August. They’re dwelling three or 4 to a room in its lodging centres.

The council is bringing a case in opposition to House Secretary Suella Braverman over the burden it faces in having to cope with such youngsters, as the world within the UK the place all small boats arrive. Brighton and Hove Metropolis Council is bringing an analogous motion.

Within the earlier listening to in August, Decide Sir Martin Chamberlain ordered Kent County Council and the House Workplace to work collectively to search out applicable lodging for lone refugee youngsters.

He was involved they’d blame one another over the difficulty, resulting in an “deadlock”, he mentioned.

Ms Duran mentioned it was essential the court docket proceed to supervise the method of ending the observe.

“The decide has dominated that it’s illegal and we would like the observe to finish as quickly as potential and safely with none youngster put in danger,” she mentioned.

“The court docket’s position right here actually is crucial given that you’ve got two completely different authorities departments seemingly at odds at one another, so there must be an arbiter.”

A protest in Brighton about missing refugee children. EPA-EFE

Earlier this yr, The Nationwide was advised that people-trafficking gangs have been utilizing cell phone trackers to search out refugee youngsters in UK motels after which lure them away.

A House Workplace consultant mentioned: “Because of the rise in harmful small boats crossings, the federal government has had no various however to urgently use motels to provide unaccompanied asylum-seeking youngsters arriving within the UK a roof over their heads.

“The well-being of kids and minors in our care is an absolute precedence and there’s 24/7 safety at each lodge used to accommodate them.

“When a toddler goes lacking, a multi-agency, lacking individuals protocol is mobilised, alongside the police and native authorities, to determine their whereabouts and guarantee they’re secure.”

Kent County Council has been approached for remark.

Up to date: September 19, 2023, 12:37 PM

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