Lone child refugees stranded in Europe have been left vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking after being failed by the British government, a new report claims (PA).
Ministers were accused of doing “as little as legally possible” to help minors who are unaccompanied or separated from relatives.
The assessment is based on an inquiry led by former Labour MP Fiona Mactaggart and Baroness Butler-Sloss, who were co-chairs of the all party parliamentary group on trafficking and modern slavery before it was dissolved when the election was called.
Writing in the foreword, they say: “…these children, who are not yet here, are facing daily risks and dangers which simply would not be tolerated if they were visible to us all.
Inquiry recommendations include:
- The UK works with European counterparts to ensure that in all cases safeguarding is prioritised and the rights of the child and the child’s best interest are upheld.
- The British Government must ensure that any so called ‘security measures’, funded by the British Taxpayer, including outside of its own borders, operate in conformity with child protection and human rights principles and that in no cases are we contributing financially or otherwise toward physical or mental violence towards children.
- The ‘Dubs scheme’, or Section 67 of the Immigration Act, needs to be open to children in practice and more children need to be included. This will require expanding the criteria so that it doesn’t exclude vulnerable children due to their age or nationality and a revised cut off date. Most urgent is quick and transparent processing of these applications. The administration of the Dubs scheme requires multi-agency teams of specialists on the ground where most children are located, including Calais and Dunkirk to build confidence in safe routes and resistance to traffickers.
Read the full report here