Children reaching UK in small boats sent to jail for adult sex offenders

27 August 2023: Thanks to Maddie Harris and Humans for Rights Network – StatusNow signatories – for exposing this terrible situation:

Guardian: Children reaching UK in small boats sent to jail for adult sex offenders

Human rights group finds growing number of cases of minors held among prisoners

Vulnerable children who arrive in Britain by small boat are being placed in an adult prison that holds significant numbers of sex offenders.

A growing number of cases have been identified where unaccompanied children, many of whom appear to be trafficked, have been sent to HMP Elmley, Kent, and placed among foreign adult prisoners.

According to the most recent inspection of Elmley, the block where foreign nationals are held also houses sex offenders.

Of 14 unaccompanied children so far identified by staff at Humans For Rights Network as being sent to an adult prison, one is believed to have been 14 when they spent seven months in Elmley.

Most of the cases involve Sudanese or South Sudanese children who travelled to the UK via Libya, with most appearing to have been trafficked or having experienced some form of exploitation.

This weekend there were calls for the Home Office to launch an immediate investigation into the issue and urgently release anyone believed to be a child who is inside an adult jail.

Maddie Harris, of Human Rights Network, said the group had worked with more than 1,000 age-disputed children and that those sent to adult prisons were among the most “profoundly harmed”.

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