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The Guardian view on young asylum seekers going missing: unsafe spaces | Editorial

Chilling reports of children disappearing from Home Office hotels must bring an end to this failed policy

The latest reports of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children disappearing from English seaside resorts are spine-chilling. While it has been known for some time that young people have gone missing after being placed in hotels by the Home Office, the evidence, from a whistleblower, of children being picked up and driven away is deeply shocking.

Last year, the heads of more than 25 organisations, including Barnardo’s, Coram and the National Children’s Bureau, responded to figures showing 1,606 children in England had been placed in such accommodation over the previous 12 months. They described the policy as amounting to “negligence in corporate parenting duties” and “void of respect for children’s rights”. This is because it is an exemption from the duty to provide care to children. Just how risky this is can be seen from the number of missing children, which stands at 200, the Home Office minister Simon Murray told the House of Lords on Monday. In May last year, two men were arrested for human trafficking offences after police stopped their car containing three asylum-seeking children.

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