Thousands of child refugees vulnerable to traffickers and sexual abuse could be thrown a lifeline as Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake urges the PM to house young refugees without families in the UK.
Mr Brake addressed the ‘biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War’ and called on David Cameron to offer homes to 3,000 unaccompanied children in line with recommendations from Save the Children.
The call attracted broad cross-party support with signatures from members of the International Development Committee including Green MP Caroline Lucas, Yvette Cooper of Labour, Conservative MP Fiona Bruce and Tasmina Sheikh of the SNP.
The Lib Dem MP said: “These children are in danger of falling into the hands of traffickers and being forced into prostitution and forced labour.
“They need our help now and so far the government hasn’t been acting fast enough.”
The number was calculated as Britain’s fair share of the estimated 26,000 children who arrived in Europe last year without any family.
Last year Italian officials said that 4,000 of the lone children they had registered had vanished.
The letter also points out the ‘heart-breaking’ fact that 50% of the unaccompanied children given health checks at a refugee clinic in Milan were carrying a sexually-transmitted disease.
Taking in 3,000 children would be the equivalent of five children per constituency.
Charities around the country have already heard the call, Home for Good are working with local authorities to build a database of volunteer foster carers to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.
Home for Good said “Unaccompanied minors are extremely vulnerable and may also be traumatised following the loss of everything and everyone they know, long and tortuous journeys, and possibly having witnessed the death of family members.
“They may find it difficult to communicate and difficult to trust. It is vitally important that these children are placed in safe homes where they can have the time, space and support to begin to rebuild their lives.”
Mr Brake said: “It is clear there is strong support from the public and MPs across the House.
“I believe the government should stop ‘considering’ these proposals and act now.”
Picture courtesy of Tom Brake, with thanks