AN MP has made an impassioned plea for more to be done to prevent child asylum seekers being kidnapped from a hotel as he described the arrest of a gang leader.
In an emotional address to the House of Commons, Labor MP for Hove Peter Kyle criticized the Brighton and Hove Government and Council for failing to tackle the scandal surrounding dozens of children who were abducted from a hotel in his constituency .
He told MPs he had visited the hotel in Hove, adding: “I saw myself having met the children present there that some of them were extremely vulnerable – even emotionally vulnerable and vulnerable when they leave the premises should, to be forced into crime.”
Criticizing Immigration Secretary Robert Jenrick, Mr Kyle said: “It is wrong to say that these children are not being coerced into crime because just last year Sussex Police pursued a car that picked up two children outside this hotel.
“When they managed to get the car to safety, they released two child migrants and arrested one of the members driving it, a gang leader who wanted to force the children to commit crimes.”
Despite having alerted the council, social services, the home office and the police, Mr Kyle said that “the only organization that responded effectively and with the kind of seriousness you would expect was Sussex Police, but they were lacking this means the facilities, resources and authority to get the job done”.
He said: “The uncomfortable truth for us is if a child related to any of us in this room went missing the world would stop, but in the community I represent, a child has gone missing, then five went missing, then a dozen went missing, then 50 went missing and today 76 went missing and nothing happened.”
Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for the neighboring constituency of Brighton Pavilion, accused the Home Office of “amazing complacency and incompetence” and described the scandal as “appalling”.
She said: “Where is the special ops to find the missing children? This feels like the plight of girls in Rotherham who were treated like they didn’t matter and quite frankly it’s disgusting.
“The astonishing complacency and incompetence of the Home Office is shameful.
“It was quite foreseeable that children would be at risk of being kidnapped, abducted and coerced by criminals.
“We need immediate answers, we need an urgent investigation, we need to ask how many children are still missing before we actually see action.”
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper accused the government of a “complete dereliction of duty”.
She said: “There is a criminal network involved and the government is completely failing to stop them.
“It is still unclear whether the Home Office or the Council is legally responsible for these children.
“This is a total dereliction of duty that puts children at risk – we must act urgently and seriously to crack down on these gangs and protect children and young people.”
Sussex Police confirmed to The Argus that 137 unaccompanied children have been reported missing since the Home Office began housing asylum seekers in hotels around the city in July 2021.
Of these, more than half, 76, are still missing and under investigation.
Robert Jenrick told the Commons that 4,600 unaccompanied children seeking asylum have been placed in hotels across the UK, with around ten per cent (440) missing.
About 200 children remain missing – 13 of them are under 16 years old.
He revealed that 88 percent of those still missing were Albanian nationals.
He said the government had “no alternative” but to accommodate unaccompanied children in hotels as the number of boat crossings across the Channel increases.
Mr Jenrick said: “When a child goes missing, a multi-agency missing persons protocol is mobilized alongside the police and relevant local authorities to establish their whereabouts and ensure they are safe.
“I have been told that any young person who leaves one of these hotels and does not return will be treated the same as any young person missing their citizenship or immigration status anywhere else in the country.
“Many of the missing persons are subsequently tracked down and localized.
“Protection concerns are and will remain a priority for me and my department as we undertake the broader reforms that are so badly needed to ensure we have a fair and effective asylum system, working in the interests of the British people.”
He also claimed that there is a “significant security presence” at the hotels each day, with security guards to report suspicious activity to police protecting staff and minors, as well as “a number of social workers”. 24/7 location”.
Sussex Police have confirmed that two men have been arrested on suspicion of intent to commit human trafficking after two children who were staying at the Hove Hotel reportedly got into a nearby car. They stopped the vehicle on the M25 in May last year.
Both suspects were released as part of the investigation, the investigation is still ongoing.
A police spokesman told The Argus: “When people go missing our primary role is to investigate the circumstances, including assessing whether they are at risk or may have been the victim of a crime.
“When risks to their safety are identified, we and other appropriate parties will take steps to protect them.
“Once an individual has been found with a criminal record associated with either the initial disappearance or the subsequent placement of those wishing to remain missing, Sussex Police will investigate and take affirmative action where necessary.
“We continue to work with the Home Office to help roll out preventive measures, including inter-agency safety meetings with other partners, to ensure that when people are reported missing we have the best opportunity to find them.”
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23272895.peter-kyle-slams-government-hove-child-abductions/?ref=rss Peter Kyle criticizes the government over the Hove child abductions