Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Huge Rise in Children Fleeing War-Torn Countries

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Huge Rise in Children Fleeing War-Torn Countries

Article excerpt

THE number of lone child asylum seekers placed in care by Manchester council has jumped more than 40pc in a year, as more and more youngsters from war-torn countries seek refuge in the city.

Much of the rise has been attributed to new government rules that see children sent from the south east - where they often arrive after being smuggled into the UK - to other areas.

One charity said many are arriving confused and fearful for the safety of their relatives back home after fleeing conflicts across the Middle East and Africa.

While Manchester's numbers remain relatively small, they are growing significantly, a report going before councillors next week reveals.

In the year to February 2016, the town hall placed 48 unaccompanied child asylum seekers in care, compared to 67 over the following 13 months - a rise of 44pc.

"The number of unaccompanied asylum seeking children in care has increased and the national picture indicates this and the transfer of children will continue to increase," predicts the report by director of childrens services Paul Marshall.

Denise McDowell, director at the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU), which has bases in Moss Side and Crumpsall, said the council's trend was 'exactly' the same as experienced by the charity.

"Children arrive in different ways," she said, adding that at one point many were being 'dropped off by lorries on the M6'.

"More recently they have been transferred here from authorities like Kent, which had said they were overwhelmed by the number of children arriving through their ports that they were needing to care for. As a result there was a scheme set up 18 months ago to disperse those children across England and Wales. "That's one reason there's a significant increase."

Those children will have all been smuggled into the country, she added, as that's 'the only way they've been able to arrive. …

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