Children are at risk
Last year, 33,000 children fled warfare and disaster along the dangerous migrant routes towards Europe. Many are living in appalling conditions in refugee camps and makeshift shelters, without access to clean water, electricity or toilets. Others are in overcrowded and under-resourced refugee transit centres, or are being held in detention. Most have no access to formal education.
As countries across Europe close their borders, children have been left stranded – afraid to turn back, and unable to continue on with their journeys, apply for asylum or reunite with their families in other parts of Europe.
A growing number of child refugees arrive in Europe without parental care. Many European countries have failed to properly provide for the needs of unaccompanied child refugees, and there are insufficient suitable alternative care arrangements in place. Without proper support and protection these children are extremely vulnerable to abuse, trafficking and exploitation. Every year, 10,000 refugee children go missing from Europe.
The UK accepts only a small number of unaccompanied refugee children through arrangements such as the Dubs Scheme. However, our immigration laws mean that those we do accept are often denied the opportunity to be reunited with their families and are placed in care.