Unaccompanied and vulnerable children seeking asylum are going missing from Government run hotels.
The Government has said that a shocking 4,600 separated children have been put in hotels since July 2021. 440 of them have gone missing and 200 have never been found. These children are suspected of being exploited and are not being protected by the UK's child welfare framework which applies to all children, regardless of their immigration status.
This is a crisis situation which requires an urgent response.
The Government needs to commit to end this practice for good, giving an exact date for when it will stop. There also needs to be an urgent inquiry looking into these failures to protect vulnerable children from harm.
Will you ask your MP to speak up for the protection of unaccompanied children seeking asylum?
You can send your MP our template letter, but we encourage you to personalise your message.
I am writing to express my alarm that unaccompanied and vulnerable children seeking asylum are going missing from hotels where they have been accommodated by the Home Office. I ask you to call on the Government to end the practice of putting separated children in hotels immediately and to launch an urgent independent inquiry into this issue.
There is no legal basis for placing children in Home Office hotel accommodation. Almost two years into the operation of the scheme, which is both unlawful and harmful, it is no longer possible to justify the use of hotels as being ‘temporary’. It is a significant departure from the Children Act 1989 and established standards.
Despite multiple warnings from charities to the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Secretary of State for Education, Directors of Children’s Services, OFSTED, and a report by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, it has now emerged that many of these children have gone missing from the hotels. They are targeted by criminal networks and likely now face exploitation and other forms of significant harm.
The latest information provided by the Government confirmed that 4,600 children have been accommodated in these hotels since July 2021 with 440 missing episodes and 200 children who have never been found. The hotels are simply not safe.
As my representative in Parliament, I urge you to speak out against the Home Office accommodating separated children seeking asylum in hotels. There are two ways in which you can do this:
1. Call for an immediate end to this practice, with a commitment from Government to an end date after which these practices will not be revived.
2. Call for an urgent independent inquiry, as this is a significant matter of public concern following the reported failures to protect vulnerable children from harm.
Regardless of nationality or immigration status, all children deserve protection and safety. What does it say about us as a nation if we cannot make sure children are properly looked after?
I urge you to take this important opportunity in standing up for the protection of children. I look forwarding to hearing your response regarding this matter.