According to new information, a fifth of all unaccompanied Albanian child migrants in Kent have gone missing.

According to new information, a fifth of all unaccompanied Albanian child migrants in Kent have gone missing.

A council has reported that almost one-fifth of lone Albanian child refugees have gone missing.

Between January 1 and October 31 of this year, Kent County Council received 197 unaccompanied child migrants from Albania, 39 of whom are still missing.

The numbers were revealed to the public after the BBC requested them under the Freedom of Information Act.

Kent County Council previously said that it will no longer accept any new child migrants between June and November 2021, as well as August and December 2020.

Each time, they claimed that their services were overburdened and urged other authorities to accept more unaccompanied minors.

Albanians have made up the majority of those arriving in small boats over the Channel this year, accounting for more than 12,000 of the arrivals.

Kent County Council said that it has witnessed a “significant rise” in the number of unaccompanied Albanian children brought to its services, and that when this occurs, it works closely with police and the Home Office to locate them.

According to a spokesman: “With the significant increase and recognised vulnerability of Albanian unaccompanied children, safeguarding protocols take place at point of referral. Even then it can be very challenging to prevent all children from going missing.

“The protocols involve strategy discussions and child protection investigations with police, Home Office, health and other public authorities to ensure, as best as possible, the child is safeguarded from the risk of exploitation and going missing.

“When the child is located, arrangements are quickly made to establish what has happened to the child and how they can be safeguarded from going missing again.

“Since the significant rise in Albanian unaccompanied children in May 2022, we have convened multiple forums with local and national public authorities to look beyond these established protocols as children continued to arrive and go missing.

“This has helped improve professional understanding and decision-making for these children, which has contributed toward a reduction in the number of children going missing.”

Labour’s shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, said the government must take measures to combat human trafficking groups and ensure adequate child safeguards are in place.

“This is extremely serious,” she said. “Trafficking gangs are bringing children and vulnerable teenagers into the country for exploitation.

“The Home Office clearly doesn’t have a grip on this at all; for so many Albanian children to just disappear like this should have raised major alarm bells in government.

“They must not keep letting the gangs get away with this.”

Source: A fifth of lone Albanian child migrants in Kent have gone missing, council admits

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