Council leaders have reported that some of the recent arrivals have disappeared
Some of the migrants were found to be working in sweatshops or the sex trade
More than 750 children have been brought to the UK under by the Government
Traffickers have drawn some of the children brought to Britain from the Calais Jungle into prostitution or slavery, it has been claimed.
Council leaders have reported that some of the recent arrivals have disappeared from council care.
Some were found to be working in sweatshops or the sex trade after being hounded by traffickers for the money they previously agreed to pay to get to the UK.
More than 750 children have been brought to the UK under the Government’s transfer scheme from the migrant camp, which closed down in October.
But David Simmonds, the chairman of the Local Government Association’s asylum, migration and refugee task group, said traffickers use social media to send threats to young refugees in order to force them to abandon their new homes and come and work for them.
He told the Sunday Times: ‘The [traffickers] have an online relationship with the refugees. They pick them up on Facebook and subject them to threats. They say: ‘We know where your little brother is, he’s still in France.’
We are hearing examples with this cohort [from Calais] who are being pursued, and that is definitely an issue. We have seen examples of where the young people have gone missing.’
Mr Simmonds, the deputy leader of Hillingdon council in west London, said a 16-year-old who was reported missing after being housed in Croydon, south London, was found by police to be working as a prostitute
Child? A charity mistakenly said this ‘youngster’ was an interpreter. Face recognition software put him at 38
Around two-thirds of the ‘child’ refugees allowed into Britain may turn out to be adults after undergoing age tests, a council chief has warned.
More than 750 young refugees have been brought to the UK from the former Calais Jungle camp under the Government’s transfer scheme.
But David Simmonds, the spokesman for the local councils caring for them, claimed traffickers have taken advantage of the provision by forcing some of the arrivals to lie about their ages.
Home Office guidance states that asylum seekers should only be challenged about their age if they appear to be ‘significantly over 18 years of age’.
But some refugees arriving in the UK in October appeared to be older than typical teenagers, despite claiming to be aged between 13 and 17.
Mr Simmonds said age assessments were now underway, and he expected about two-thirds of those tested would be found to be adults.
Officials have insisted that those arriving from Calais have undergone rigorous interviews and document checks to establish they are under 18.
But it has emerged this is simply a screening process where they are verified as a child based on their ‘physical appearance’ and ‘demeanour’, with social workers signing off an ‘age assessment’. Routine medical tests, such as checking dental records, have not been carried out because it could be ‘intrusive’.
Figures released by charity Ecpat UK show that child asylum seekers were going missing even before the recent arrivals from Calais. In the year to September 2015, 593 children in care went missing.
But charity Citizens UK said traffickers were not the only issue that child refugees were facing. They said that those brought in under the Dublin Regulation because of family links in the UK were also experiencing problems after being placed with relatives.
Charity spokesman Charlotte Morris said: ‘Some of the family placements have broken down.
‘They [the children] existed in a pretty feral state in the Calais camp without any adult supervision, so it was never going to be easy when they arrived here.’
Yesterday Lord Dubs, who sponsored an amendment to the Immigration Act 2016 that allowed unaccompanied children safe passage to Britain, said the news that some of the children had gone missing was ‘shocking and very disappointing’.
‘They were brought here to be safe. It is important that local authorities have the resources to look after these children, and give them enough support so they can’t be got at by traffickers,’ he said.
Last night the Home Office said: ‘All vulnerable children must be kept safe. That is why when a child goes missing from care, agencies work closely with local authorities and police to find them.’ SOURCE