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Call for action on children going missing from Home Office-run hotels

Kamena Dorling

Over 100 charities from the refugee and children’s sectors wrote to the Prime Minister on January 26th 2023 to express their grave concern about separated children seeking asylum going missing from Home Office hotels. The children are suspected of being exploited and are accommodated outside of the UK’s child welfare framework which applies to all children, regardless of their immigration status.

The letter calls for "the end to this practice immediately with a commitment to an end date after which these practices will not be revived and an urgent independent inquiry given these significant matters of public concern following the reported failures to protect vulnerable children from harm".

The letter denounces the continued use of unsafe hotels by the Home Office to accommodate separated children, arguing that there is "no legal basis for placing children in Home Office hotel accommodation and 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."

Charities have previously issued multiple warnings to Ministers and government departments about the dangers of the Home Office accommodating children in these hotels. The government confirmed that there were 440 occurrences of children having gone missing from hotels, and 200 children have never been found.

The Refugee and Migrant Children's Consortium, which is co-chaired by the Helen Bamber Foundation, has also published a briefing for parliamentarians on this issue - click on the arrow below to read this.