Gangs 'targeting' asylum-seeking children with 136 missing from UK seaside hotels | UK | News

More than one hundred children have “gone missing” from a hotel housing asylum-seeking children in Hove, according to a councillor. The “highly traumatised children” who were housed in the hotel have been “absolutely” targeted by grooming and trafficking gangs, says Labour Councillor Bella Sankey, adding it is “sickening” this is being allowed to happen. She claimed the local Green Party councillors had been “covering up” the problem and said 136 chilldren are missing in total.

Ms Sankey told LBC this morning: “It took us a long time to find out the numbers of missing children and we eventually got that number from Sussex police.

“So, 136 children have gone missing from the hotel in Hove. That is around one in four children that have been placed there.

“It’s sickening. It is absolutely stunning that this has been allowed to happen and we know that 76 of those children are still unaccounted for.”

The Home Office has been placing asylum seekers in hotels around the country, which has caused a public outcry. According to Ms Sankey, she was shocked to see how “vulnerable” the children were.

She said she visited the hotel in Hove when it was first opened and was “absolutely staggered”.

“There were children hanging out of the windows of the hotel vulnerable children,” Ms Sankey said.

“I’ve worked with children like this in the past and you’re abso right to say many of them have witnessed the most incredible horrors.”

Last night, a spokesman for Brighton and Hove City council said it been raising concerns about the Home Office’s use of hotels for months.

They said: “For many months now we have been raising with Government our concerns about the Home Office’s use of hotels to accommodate asylum-seeking children.

“Children are being housed in hotels here and elsewhere in the country on a temporary basis by the Home Office before being taken into care by councils throughout the country under the Home Office’s national transfer scheme (NTS).

“We believe it’s vital that arrangements should be made for the transfer of these children under the NTS as quickly as possible to minimise the length of their stay in hotel accommodation. We have made this point to the Government.”

The council is known to have been working with local charities to supposedly look after the asylum seekers.

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