Since July 2021, when the British government started housing minors in hotels due to a strain on the country’s accommodation system, 200 child asylum seekers have gone missing. 88% of those missing are Albanian nationals and 12% are from Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Vietnam, Pakistan and Turkey; 13 of them being under 16 years old and 1 female.
The increase in migrant boat crossings through the English Channel has left UK with no other option than using “specialist hotels” for unaccompanied children as temporary solution. However, this practice has come under fire from charities such as Refugee Action who express concern over the risks that separated children face while in hotel accommodation. The Labour Party has also called for an urgent investigation into the matter.
The question remains: where are these missing child asylum seekers going? Without a doubt, this is a worrying trend that highlights the vulnerabilities of unaccompanied minors in the UK. While the causes behind their disappearance are yet to be determined, it is clear that more needs to be done to protect these vulnerable children. Until then, the fate of these missing youngsters remains a mystery.