Statement from Brighton & Hove Muslim Forum regarding the Children Asylum Seekers in Brighton & Hove

January 26, 2023


26th January 2023

Statement: Scores of Child Asylum Seekers Kidnapped from Home Office Hotel in Brighton & Hove – County Lines and Safeguarding Children.

The Brighton & Hove Muslim Forum were deeply saddened and shocked to learn about the recent story in The Guardian and Observer, that 79 asylum-seeking children are missing possibly kidnapped by criminal gangs from the hotel run by the Home Office in Hove.

We endorse and support the statements issued by organisations in our city and nationally, calling for the Home Office to immediately stop placing lone children in hotels, and place them directly into Local Authority care as soon as they arrive in the country.

There must be an investigation into the failure of the Home Office and its ‘approved’ contractors on how they failed to protect and safeguard these children. In addition to the Home Office acting as the safeguarding authority, an investigation is needed as to why Brighton & Hove City Council and Sussex Police also failed to act to protect these children when they were aware criminal gangs were targeting and kidnapping these children in our city.

Sabri Ben Ameur, Vice Chairman of BHMF, said: “These were predominately Muslim children, we were hindered by the Home Office in helping them. These children need to be found and action taken. Officials were aware what was going on, we were in meetings raising concerns to the Home Office and Brighton & Hove City Council about the lack of care of these children. We know that nobody was listening to the concerns that were being raised and this was reaffirmed again by the recent questions raised by Caroline Lucas MP and the damning statement made by Peter Kyle MP in the House of Commons. It is simple, nobody cared for these children and the Secretary of State and Home Office officials are now busy playing party political games with these children’s lives and this has to stop. If one British child had gone missing or kidnapped by a criminal gang, there would have been a national outcry with 24-hour news coverage. 79 non-British children are unaccounted for and nobody in authority has cared about them until it landed as a national story in one of the weekend papers. If we continue to tolerate this disastrous policy, more children including British children already targeted by county lines drug gangs, will continue to be easy pickings for these criminals, and nobody will be held accountable for safeguarding the vulnerable in our society.”

Asmat Roe, senior member of BHMF said: “Children seeking asylum are not here for a holiday by the sea, their families have been persecuted, parents murdered and lives destroyed by war and they were on the run to safety, what has this country offered them? This is Holocaust Memorial month and if history has taught us anything, it has taught us that we must act. Every child has the right to live free from violence, exploitation and abuse. Humanity owes the child the best it has to give. The Home Secretary, Home Office officials, Policy Makers, Leaders of PREVENT, Brighton & Hove City Council Leaders, Children Services and Senior Leaders at Sussex Police should hang their heads in shame, for what is happening in our City of Sanctuary to these young vulnerable children who we are supposed to be protecting and safeguarding.”


For further information please contact: The Brighton & Hove Muslim Forum

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