BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 has featured an excellent investigation into the 200 migrant children who have gone missing from government-run hotels. 136 have vanished from one hotel in Hove alone. Of these, 79 remain unaccounted for. The programme interviewed several children, who spoke of the boredom and frustration of hotel life, and the huge uncertainty surrounding their futures.
The hotel has become a magnet for criminal gangs, coercing child refugees with bribes including new trainers, before recruiting them into “county lines” drug trafficking.
The Sussex police had warned the Home Office that the young asylum seekers would be targeted by criminal networks, but this advice has been ignored.
The Guardian says the government’s complacency is illustrated by their choice of hotel. The freehold of the Hove hotel is owned by a company linked to the family of the notorious slum landlord, Nicholas van Hoogstraten.
Meanwhile Suella Braverman has told the House of Commons that unaccompanied refugee children will not be deported until their 18th birthdays.