Nearly a third of children who moved from the “Jungle” refugee camp in Calais after it was demolished have gone missing, according to a report by a youth organisation working on the ground.
The Refugee Youth Service (RYS) monitored 179 displaced children due to October’s evictions, of which more than half are now living in France’s children’s homes, 8 per cent moved legally to the UK, and 2 per cent were sleeping rough. But another 30 per cent could not be located.
Bulldozers rolled into the shanty camp last month, which had been home to around 9,000 people and became a symbol of Europe’s inability to deal with an influx of refugees fleeing war and poverty from mainly Muslim majority countries such as Iraq, Syria, Sudan and Afghanistan.
Almost 1,700 children were moved from the makeshift refugee camp to the care of the French authorities to live in accommodation centres on earlier this month.
RYS co-founder Ben Teuten said: “We saw it in the southern evictions in March where 129 children are known to have disappeared and are witnessing it again now.
“A third of the 179 children RYS were tracking in the October evictions cannot currently be located.
“These are some of the most vulnerable children in the world, they have been let down time and time again.
“When they disappear we are extremely concerned that they will be preyed upon by traffickers and are unlikely to seek state support due to their treatment to date.”
RYS has worked in the Jungle refugee camp since last November.
Before the camp’s demolition, the group monitored the children by meeting with them once a week, but since the camp eviction have had to resort to a phone distribution system.
They say this has hindered their ability to keep track of the vulnerable group.
RYS says it has been unable to establish a proposer relationship with missing children’s services in France and complained that there is no clear process for reporting children missing in the country.
The French government’s efforts to resettle unaccompanied child refugees from Calais to Britain have been branded a “disgrace” as ministers were accused of introducing arbitrary age guidelines.