129 Missing Children

I’ve just had probably the worst conversation that I could have, with the other grassroots groups working on the ground in Calais…

It turns out that since the bulldozing of the camp this month, 129 unaccompanied children are now missing / unaccounted for.

I know this sentence is so hard to compute. What does that even mean? How can kids just go missing? And that many? You kinda have to switch off from it / justify or reason it somehow in your mind, hoping that it’s not true / not take on the full extent of this information…

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So basically before the demolition of the camp by the French authorities, our friends at Help Refugees carried out a census to see exactly who was living in the camp. It was thousands more than the authorities claimed were living there…

Anyway, Help Refugees have just completed another census and made the shocking discovery that 129 children have somehow disappeared…

They’re not in the camp anymore (this includes the shipping container accommodation), and no other alternative accommodation was provided for them during the traumatic evictions. There has been no registration system, no needs assessment, no way of monitoring their safety or providing basic care.

So where are they?

There is no way of knowing, and no one looking for them. It’s so easy for them to slip under the radar, for their disappearance to go unnoticed, with no parents, no authorities, no country taking responsibility.

There are still 294 children living alone in the camp, the youngest unaccompanied child only 8 years old. It’s too horrible to comprehend..what circumstances could ever lead to a child that young, to end up in a camp like this, ALONE. It doesn’t even bear thinking about…

Anyway, this is absolute craziness. The French government, the British government, or at least some government / official body somewhere has to do something!? In the meantime it’s left to the amazing grassroots organisations working tirelessly on the ground to fill in these huge gaps…

For more information on the full census, check out our friends at Help Refugees.

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