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‘I don’t feel human’ – shocking testimony from the Children’s Society

The Children’s Society have published a report, I Don’t Feel Human, about the shocking levels of destitution among refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant children and young people in the UK.

Immigration policies which limit their access to support and accommodation, are leaving vulnerable young people homeless, hungry and forced to resort to increasingly desperate means in order to survive, such as being forced into sexual relationships in exchange for shelter or food.

The report is based on a consultation with practitioners from the Children’s Society’s refugee and migrant projects, and includes case studies young people and families they have supported.

Nushra Mansuri, BASW professional officer, said:

“It is a national scandal that already vulnerable children who come to this country seeking sanctuary are ending up in such perilous situations.

“The case studies contained in this report are truly shocking and call into question our status as a signatory to the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child), when children and young people are being treated in this way.

“All too often, the plight of these children goes under the radar; their stories are seldom told and they are made to feel invisible by the society in which they fight for their very survival.

“Their basic human rights are being obliterated, subjecting them to the type of inhumane and degrading treatment, which ironically, formed the basis of their asylum application.

“The government was quick to call for an end of children in the asylum process being detained; the deputy prime minister equally needs to draw attention to the destitution experienced by children, young people and families subject to immigration controls, and take urgent action to put an end to this appalling state of affairs.’