A summary of social care news

By Clare Jerrom

Teenage refugees abducted from UK

Teenage refugees in council care have been “kidnapped” and sent
abroad to work as prostitutes, it emerged yesterday.

Some 59 young Africans have vanished from foster homes and local
care accommodation in West Sussex during the past four years.
Police fear the girls are victims of well organised

A documentary broadcast on BBC2 last night revealed how police
believe the gangs who transport the girls to Britain, then reclaim

A police spokesperson said: “It is about criminal gangs
encouraging young girls from West Africa to make asylum claims in
this country. Having entered the UK, the gangs reclaim them and get
them back.”

John Dixon, West Sussex director of social services, described
the trade as Dickensian and said that only one girl had been
identified by the council and returned from Italy back to

Source:- The Times Friday 9 March page 4

Snatched children well, says mother

Social services staff were contacted yesterday by a mother, who
had snatched her three children from a foster home, to say the
children were safe and well.

Sarah Barnes and another woman barged into a house in Thurrock
on Wednesday and threatened to attack the foster parents if they
refused to hand the children over. Her sleeping daughters and baby
son were then abducted.

Essex police immediately launched a nationwide search for Barnes
and the children’s Turkish father Murat Budancamanak.

The children had been taken into care last December following
concerns from social workers that they were “at risk of

Barnes phoned Thurrock council yesterday to reassure staff that
Clare, three, Yasmine, two, and Murad, five months, were in no
danger, but refused to admit where they were.

Thurrock council, which has an interim care order for the
children, was yesterday granted another by a judge at Chelmsford
county court demanding that the children are returned.

Source:- The Guardian Friday 9 March page 4

Sex traffic is Europe’s shame

The tens of thousands of women who are sold into sexual slavery
every year and forced to work in brothels from Amsterdam to London
are receiving little protection from European governments, the
European commission warned yesterday.

“The nightmare” of trafficking in women had not been ended or
even dented by the policy announcements on the subject, according
to social affairs commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou.

On International Women’s Day, she said that governments
were not doing nearly enough to clamp down on trafficking or to
identify and help the victims of the trade.

“A shame on our civilisation because all of us are in some way
responsible. We are talking about societies that foster
discrimination, poverty and prejudice about customers –
‘consumers’ who have put their humanity in their
wallets,” Diamantopoulou said.

A meeting was held yesterday to raise awareness of the issue yet
it failed to produce concrete proposals.

The EC stated that 120,000 women and children are trafficked
into western Europe every year and many are bought and sold into
prostitution, raped, imprisoned and sometimes killed. It is
estimated that traffickers may earn $250,000 a woman.

The EU will shortly produce a proposal to allow victims of the
trade to claim temporary asylum if they agree to give evidence
against traffickers.

Source:- The Guardian Friday 9 March page 15

Eurostar asylum trio flee centre

The immigration centre holding the illegal immigrants, who
reached Britain beneath a Eurostar train, has admitted that three
have absconded.

One man has left his wife and two children inside Oakington
immigration centre near Cambridge.

A train arrived at Waterloo station from Paris last week, and it
emerged that three Romanian men, three women, two of them pregnant,
and three children had stowed away in a compartment under the

A home office spokesperson had stated that although all nine
were taken to Oakington, three had escaped on Wednesday night.

Jack Straw said during a visit to Dover to see the problems
posed by asylum seekers: “They will now be treated as illegal
immigrants who have absconded and will be arrested when they are

He added: “Oakington is not a secure unit, it is a reception
centre. These people were not in there as an alternative to prison.
When they are found they will be placed in a secure unit.”

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 9 March page 1

Boost for parents whose children get care at

The government announced yesterday its plans to help low paid
parents whose children are looked after at home while they work, by
part funding their childcare bills.

Currently parents in working families can claim up to £200
a week if their children are placed in a nursery or with a

It was announced that the loophole excluding children cared for
at home would be closed, by Stephen Byers, the trade and industry

Children looked after at home due to their parents working
anti-social hours such as nurses on shifts, and parents of disabled
children are denied the benefit.

Byers said: “This restriction poses particular problems,
especially for parents who work irregular hours. I heard this at
first hand when I recently discussed this with a group of mothers
in Bolton.”

He added: “They said support for childcare costs in their own
home would be a significant advance. It would also benefit families
who have a child with a disability.”

A DTI spokesperson claimed the extension of the scheme would
only apply to those parents whose children were cared for by
registered childminders or nannies.

Source:- The Independent Friday 9 March page

Human traffic

In West Africa, ruthless gangs of traffickers terrify young men
and women into fleeing to Britain in search of asylum. From here
they are shipped to Italy and a life of prostitution.

Source:- G2 The Guardian Friday 9 March page 4

Scottish newspapers

Rural helpline extended

The Scottish executive is to give £50,000 to a rural-stress
helpline as farmers struggle under the impact of the foot and mouth
crisis while Highland Health Board is to advise farmers and
crofters on suicide prevention.

The money will go to the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent
Institution, a charity which has been running a rural helpline for
some time. Two additional full time telephone lines will be
installed and some 5,000 cards distributed giving the helpline
numbers and those of the Samaritans. Similar information leaflets
will be issued by Highland Health Board next week.

Source:- The Scotsman Thursday 9 March page 7

Fascist groups target asylum seekers

The far-right British National Party has announced that it is
gaining support on the back of its campaign to oppose the
accommodation of asylum seekers in Glasgow and the west of

They made the claim after launching their campaign this week in
an east Renfrewshire estate earmarked to accommodate Kosovan
refugees. Cross party politicians and refugee groups have united
against the group.

Robina Qureshi, of the Positive Action in Housing charity, which
promotes the harmonious integration of refugees into local
communities, said: “The message that gets out into the street is
‘kick the heads of any asylum seekers you see and anyone that
looks like an asylum seeker’.”

Gareth Norman, Scottish organiser for the far-right National
Front, said “the time was right” for more activity on asylum
seekers, and claimed his organisation had received many more
inquiries on membership from Glasgow because of asylum seekers.

Source:- The Scotsman Friday 7 March page 7


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