Child refugees continue to be exploited as they try to reach safety – while the world simply watches

Walls and even sea barriers are proving little deterrent to those who feel they have no hope and are prepared to gamble all they own – and life itself – on the chance of getting asylum

Sunday 02 April 2017 22:17
Comments
Refugees are travelling as far as Canada, risking their lives to reach safety
Refugees are travelling as far as Canada, risking their lives to reach safety

It is happening again. There was never much chance that bulldozing the Jungle camp near Calais would “solve” the refugee crisis, and so it is proving.

Child refugees who previously found accommodation elsewhere in France are drifting back to the Channel ports. Refused – for whatever reason – entry to the UK, they are making their way to Calais and Dunkirk. There they provide a consumer base – raw material – for the people smugglers. These children and adolescents invariably have money, but that simply leaves them still more open to exploitation.

And so it is that they are appearing in the back of lorries in the Kent countryside en route to unknown depredations in Britain. Since the Government – callously – abandoned the Dubs scheme to settle 3,000 children, with barely a tenth of that number rescued, the flow is bound to increase.

Although Isis is apparently entering the endgame for its evil caliphate, the wars in Iraq and Syria are far from over. Instability, cruelty and plain economic despair meanwhile are pushing still many more thousands out of west and eastern Africa toward Libya – where many perish attempting to cross the desert – to the Mediterranean and Europe. As spring turns to summer, there is every chance that this flow will surge again – refugee numbers probably peaked in 2016, but there remains a substantial population in limbo in Europe.

As we report today, there is a parallel and sometimes linked issue of migration management into the United States and from Canada now, as well as Mexico. Walls and even sea barriers are proving little deterrent to those who feel they have no hope and are prepared to gamble all they own – and life itself – on the chance of getting asylum.

This failure to face the facts of the child refugee crisis is why it continues to drag on. Such is the volume of people moving – the largest since the Second World War – that it is unstoppable. Nations such as Hungary and Serbia may try to push them back or detain them; Germany and Sweden offer help and a future; Turkey is offering its own version of cooperation. But until the "push factors" – a euphemism for war, rape and hunger – subside, the refugees will keep trying. How long will Britain continue to turn its back on them?

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in