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Security Spending (Calais)

Volume 636: debated on Monday 26 February 2018

6. How much and what proportion of the Government’s actual and planned spending on security in Calais will be allocated to anti-trafficking and child protection. (903998)

Since 2014 the United Kingdom has invested approximately £200 million to fund joint co-operation on illegal migration in northern France and committed another £44.5 million at the recent UK-France summit. Funding focuses on improving port security and infrastructure; facilities for children; accommodation; tackling organised crime, including trafficking; and support with returning migrants. We have allocated £3.6 million to work with France to improve identification and transfer of asylum seekers between the UK and France, including children, under the Dublin regulation.

Border Force tells us that it is stopping around 1,000 people a week who are trying to get to the UK, a third of whom are minors, but those children are not being taken into care or asked whether they have family elsewhere—just like Mohammed Hassan, a teenager who had family in Bahrain but was stopped by our Border Force, sent back and died two days later trying again. What action are the Government taking to make sure that our Border Force people are not sending children into the hands of traffickers?

I am sure the hon. Lady would welcome my comment about working to combat organised crime, and we should always reflect that many perilous journeys that are made are in the hands of organised criminals. Any loss of life is an absolute tragedy, but it is important we reflect that our juxtaposed controls are an important part of our border. Our Border Force staff are incredibly well trained and look for vulnerabilities wherever they might see them. She makes an important point, and we are committed to doing more to make sure we meet our allocation of Dubs children. Also, under the Dublin regulation, we continue to resettle thousands of children every year.

Will my right hon. Friend assure the House that our recent agreement with the French Government will not merely treat the symptoms of the problem but address the deeper-rooted problem by reducing the number of migrant journeys to northern France?

An important component of the recent treaty looks at the whole route of migration. It is critical that we understand we cannot solve this solely by working with France. There is a real commitment with both Italy and Greece to make sure that, particularly with reference to our Dubs commitment, we resettle the children we are determined to bring to the UK.

Thousands of unaccompanied children at risk of trafficking and exploitation still sit in camps in Europe and further afield. Many of them have family members in the UK, so will the Minister amend the immigration regulations so that these desperate children can join their relatives here in the UK to be granted safety and sanctuary?

We have a number of schemes that already allow children to come to the UK, including Dublin and the Dubs commitment that I have outlined. We are determined to make sure that we meet our international commitments and our humanitarian commitments, to make sure that, where we can help children in desperate need across the continent and, indeed, in the wider middle east and north Africa region, we do so.