A British hotel at the centre of a scandal involving the disappearance of more than 130 unaccompanied child asylum seekers has been stripped of its government contract.
The hotel in Brighton was the focus of major protests after it was discovered that dozens of migrant children had gone missing, possibly abducted by criminal gangs.
Only last month, London’s High Court heard at least 50 minors were still unaccounted for.
On Monday, the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, Bella Sankey, said the Home Office had informed the authority that its contract with the venue would end on Thursday.
The Home Office had been paying hotels to house asylum seekers.
Ms Sankey said the policy to house unaccompanied child asylum seekers in hotels had been “inhumane”.
“The Home Office contract with a #Hove hotel to accommodate unaccompanied children seeking asylum will end on Thursday,” she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“This is a major milestone for our Council and for our City. Because @bhlabour and @BrightonHoveCC took action, this inhumane policy is ending. #Brighton.”
Authorities have faced criticism for failing to protect young asylum seekers, many of whom have disappeared, including a child aged 12.
Last month, Kent County Council took legal action against the Home Office over what it claims is the unlawful way in which the government manages the way unaccompanied refugee children are housed in Britain.
Stephanie Harrison KC, representing the council, had told the court “50 remain missing” from the hotel where they had been placed by the Home Office.
She quoted a witness saying the hotel poses “risks of trafficking to unaccompanied children” and is not “fit for purpose”.
Migrants are rescued by crew members of the ‘Abeille Languedoc’ ship after their boat’s generator broke down in French waters as they were trying to cross the Channel illegally to Britain. All photos: AFP
Migrants wait for help in the Channel.
A child is rescued by crew members of the ‘Abeille Languedoc’.
The ‘Abeille Languedoc’ is an ocean-going tug specialising in the rescue of vessels in distress.
Migrant children on the rescue boat.
The ‘Abeille Languedoc’ has been moored in Cherbourg for 26 years, monitoring the Channel between the Cotentin and the Pas-de-Calais.
Migrants sit on board the ‘Abeille Languedoc’ after being rescued.
A rescuer carries a child as they disembark from the ‘Abeille Languedoc’.
The National has previously been told people-trafficking gangs have been using mobile phone trackers to find asylum-seeker children in British hotels and lure them away.
The Home Office has been using six hotels in the UK to house unaccompanied children who have been rescued from small boats in the English Channel.
The High Court in July said the “routine” housing of unaccompanied child asylum seekers in hotels was unlawful.
More than 5,400 have been housed in hotels since July 2021, a third of whom were under 16.
The Home Office says it does not comment on individual sites.
The move comes as the Home Office is removing asylum seekers from 50 hotels as part of a bid to reduce the cost of accommodating them.News Related