Aid Workers Raise Alarm on Sexual Abuse of Children in Calais Jungle Camp
Aid Workers Raise Alarm on Sexual Abuse of Children in Calais Jungle Camp © Flickr/ Andrea Gallo
06:08 06.03.2016(updated 06:19 06.03.2016) Get short URL
Seven boys aged 14 to 16 reported sexually abused in Calais camp, aid agencies call on British government
Aid workers helping refugees at the makeshift camp outside the French town of Calais are raising the alarm on sexual abuse of children, reported the Belfast Telegraph. The workers report seven boys aged between 14 and 16 are getting medical treatment after possible sexual abuse.
In four cases, surgery was required. However, only one boy actually attended hospital while others feared repercussions or were too ashamed to admit being raped.
“These boys would have left their homes and their parents would have thought they were safe and that they were going to a better life, fleeing violence and they end up at 14 being raped in a refugee camp. That it is going on in Europe makes it even more unacceptable,” a medical aid worker said.
The Calais camp, dubbed The Calais Jungle, is reported to house up to 500 unaccompanied children, who traveled thousands of miles, mostly from Syria, Eritrea and Somalia, and who become easy prey to criminal gangs. Aid agencies are largely absent from the camp, with volunteers providing as much help as possible. The law enforcement in the camp is mostly ineffective, with the police effectively refusing to take actions in response to sexual abuse of children. The French government, however, refuses to classify the camp as a humanitarian crisis.
Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, however, has pointed out that the issue of unaccompanied children is much larger scale, claiming as much as 10,000 children to have gone missing across Europe, the Belfast Telegraph reports.
A representative of international children-protecting organization Save the Children, while acknowledging that sexual abuse of children is both local issue at Calais camp and Europe-wide issue, has called on the British government to ease the path of entry into the country for children with a legitimate asylum claim.
The Calais camp consists of migrants who seek asylum in the United Kingdom. According to Médecins Sans Frontières report, there is some access, some food distribution and heat is available, but sanitation remains poor and there issues of water quality. About 30 people died at the Camp during the past two years.