Asylum seekers placed in government-run hotels have disappeared, a minister has admitted.
A minister in Britain has said that 200 children seeking asylum have gone missing after being placed in hotels run by the Home Office.
The admission follows an investigation by The Observer on Saturday in which a whistleblower from a Home Office hotel said children were being kidnapped from the streets and forced into cars.
On Monday, Home Secretary Simon Murray told the House of Lords that the missing children included one girl and 13 children under the age of 16.
“The Home Office does not have the capacity to detain children who are seeking asylum unaccompanied in these hotels and we know that some go missing. Most of those who go missing are tracked down,” Murray said.
He added that most of the missing children – 176 out of 200 – were from Albania.
Police have previously warned the Home Office that criminals may target children who have arrived alone in the country.
According to Sussex Police, the Home Office will begin screening asylum seekers in hotels in Brighton and Hove in July 2021.
During this time, 137 children went missing. Sixty people have been found and 76 are being investigated.
The minister is unable to answer questions about the lack of children. Will the Home Office take a *legal* and practical role? Why doesn’t Ofsted inspect hotels? Have all employees been DBS checked? When will the hotels close? How many will be missing before we see the events? My Urgent Q pic.twitter.com/LsHCVjXQlq
— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) January 24, 2023
The Home Office and local councils have traded blame, each saying the other has a responsibility to protect children.
The Labor Party called for an urgent investigation after Green Party MP Caroline Lucas criticized the Conservatives in Parliament on Monday.
“This is bad,” he said. “Vulnerable children are being dumped by the Home Office.”
Rights groups have criticized the government, while the Adolescent and Children’s Trust (TACT), a foster care organisation, said the home office had ignored its calls to place the children in care homes.
This is true & @ukhomeoffice they knew this as we told them again and again. They had no interest or ability to place the children in foster homes and shelters. Putting these children in grave danger by putting them in overcrowded hotels was intentional https://t.co/pbtgxaNN7C
– TACT Care (@TACTCare) January 23, 2023