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Uprooted and unprotected

Experiences of children forced into migration through northern France and a multi-agency approach to safeguarding them

Between August 2016 and November 2017, 196 children of 12 different nationalities who had been living in informal camps in northern France, were referred to CTAC by Refugee Youth Service (RYS). The referrals were made due to concerns for the children’s safety and the risk of them being trafficked into the UK. The children had originally come to the attention of a range of charities working in the so-called ‘Calais Jungle’, as they were travelling without parents or carers, leaving them vulnerable to being abused and exploited by adults. These children subsequently went missing from the camp but when reported, were not deemed to be “missing people” by the French authorities. They therefore continued to be exposed to the risk of trafficking and other forms of abuse while seeking to reach the UK. Of the 196 children referred to CTAC, 68 were located and confirmed to be in the UK. The whereabouts of 128 children remain unknown.

This report is based on information shared by young people, case analysis and CTAC’s ongoing work with RYS. It provides rich learning about the experiences of young people who have entered the UK as refugees from northern France, showing the many ways in which they are vulnerable and have not been adequately protected from harm.

All names and potentially identifying details in this report have been changed to protect the identity of the child or young person.