Instead of protecting children who have fled to Europe for safety, Government is failing them, finds a July 2017 report (pdf) by the Human Trafficking Foundation.
This independent inquiry continues the work of the APPG on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery, which was disrupted by the June General Election.
The report says that ‘a safe route [into the UK] does not act as a pull factor and what draws children to the UK is our language, our respected education system, children’s family ties, sport, and an open job market.’
Leaving children without safe and legal options leaves them stranded in dangerous and often violent situations. In many instances this results in children turning to smugglers, putting themselves at risk of dangerous journeys and of exploitation to pay the smugglers.
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 Government must ensure that any ‘security measures’, funded by the 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.