Child refugees

Our country has a proud history of helping those fleeing conflict and persecution and, as we face the biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, I believe we must continue to pay our part by taking our fair share of refugees.

I have long believed that the government should be doing more to help unaccompanied child refugees in particular, both by reuniting those with family in the UK and by resettling some unaccompanied children under the Dubs amendment to the Immigration Act 2016.

As highlighted in a recent report by the Human Trafficking Foundation (HTF), we know that unaccompanied child refugees are highly vulnerable to trafficking, sexual exploitation and other forms of abuse.

According to UNICEF some 30,000 unaccompanied children arrived in Greece and Italy alone.

Earlier this year, the Government announced that the Dubs scheme would end after resettling only 480 children in the UK. This is incredibly disappointing and far short of the commitment that as expected when parliament debated and accepted the Dubs amendment last year.

The recent report by the HTF highlighting the situation facing unaccompanied child refugees made a number of recommendations, including that more children are included in the Dubs scheme. I am strongly of the view that the Government should recommit to meeting the obligations of the Dubs amendment by restoring the scheme and accepting more of some of the most vulnerable children in the world. I would also agree that more should be done to reunite families, and I share concerns about the efficiency of the processes in place for those who are entitled to join the family in the UK, particularly children.