No entry for trafficked children at UK borders
An investigation by the Children’s Commissioner for England, Maggie Atkinson, has revealed that unaccompanied children who have been trafficked to Dover or through the channel tunnel are returned to France within 24 hours.
Despite the children’s hunger, poor health and general well being, the UK Boarder Agency (UKBA) sent many back thanks to what Atkinson described as a “gentleman’s agreement” between France and the UK.
Atkinson’s report Landing in Dover, which was reported in the Guardian, also outlines that seven of the children who had been deported back to France were trafficked to the UK in order to work as “gardeners” in cannabis factories in 2010.
The Children’s Commissioner is quoted as saying, ‘Children arriving unaccompanied in the UK are some of the most vulnerable that my office and society encounter. That is why we have continued to investigate how they are dealt with, working constructively with UKBA, to improve their treatment.’
Rob Whiteman, the new chief executive of UKBA, stopped the practice of deporting vulnerable children after Atkinson’s investigation in November.
However, while the practice of immediately deporting children has been stopped, the UKBA continue to deport adults within 24 hours.
Read more about the investigation here.
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