Commenting on the closure of the Calais refugee camp, Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, said: “This is positive progress. The camp in Calais is no place for children – the conditions are extremely dangerous and young people are at risk of being picked up by traffickers.
“With the clearing of the camp looming, proper measures must be put in place to protect all children living there prior to its closure. French authorities need to ensure that all of the children get places in specialist centres and urgent assessments should be done to identify those who may be eligible to come to the UK. The current proposal is just to focus on the under-12s which we estimate is just 5% of children in the camp.”
“I am on route to the European Commission in Brussels to meet with my French counterpart. Together, we will be seeking assurances that the French Government has robust measures in place to ensure the safety of all children, many of whom have been traumatised by war. The clearing of the camp needs to be done in a properly planned way so that children there do not disappear from the radar of the agencies, as they did when it was torn down in June, or try to make the extremely dangerous trip across the Channel in the back of a lorry.”