Saturday March 02, 2024

UK says 200 young unaccompanied asylum-seekers missing

January 25, 2023

LONDON: Two hundred children who arrived in the UK seeking asylum without their parents in the last 18 months are missing, Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick said on Tuesday.

Thirteen of them are under 16 and one is a girl, he told parliament, adding that they were mostly Albanian. The Observer newspaper on Sunday said young asylum-seekers were being “kidnapped” by criminal gangs outside their hotel in Brighton in southern England.

“Children are literally being picked up from outside the building, disappearing and not being found. They´re being taken from the street by traffickers,” a source working for government contractor Mitie told the newspaper.

But Conservative MP Tim Loughton told parliament that “there have not been any reports to Sussex police” about children being abducted. However, Jenrick acknowledged that since July 2021 there have been “440 missing occurrences”, where asylum seekers did not return to their hotels, where they are staying voluntarily.