Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley has spoken in Parliament about the plight of unaccompanied child refugees – and has called on the UK Government to take in an extra 3,000 lone children from refugee camps.
Ms Crawley drew on her personal experience of the refugee crisis, having visited the Refugee camps at Calais last month.
The latest census from Help Refugees UK reported that there were 4,946 refugees and forced migrants living in the Calais camp 514 are children.
It was reported that there were 294 unaccompanied children in the camps, but 129 have gone unaccounted for since the destruction of the Southern camp shortly before Ms Crawley’s visit.
Ms Crawley said: “I spoke to a mother who had put her two young children aged two and seven on the back of a truck in the hope that they would make it to the UK. I do not know whether they did. She will never know where those children are.
“Save the Children, living up to its name, has put pressure on the Government to resettle the 3,000 unaccompanied children already in Europe. That is a responsibility that we in the UK must take seriously, and we must step up to the plate.”
As well as requesting the Home Office to allow entry to unaccompanied minors, she has called on the Government to fund local government programmes to support refugee children.
She said: “The standard of care that we know they will receive when they get to the UK will be exceptional. Funding local government to deliver the services is absolutely vital.”
After the debate, Ms Crawley commented: “as things stand, the Government is failing children. By simply ignoring the problem, they leave lone children to suffer in camps, open to people traffickers and worse.
“This is unjust, and we have a duty to help these children as best we can.”