Three children have gone missing in the past month while in the care of Croydon Council.
The news of the children’s disappearances came in a written answer from Alisa Flemming, the council cabinet member for children, families and learning, at last week’s Town Hall meeting. Few details about the missing children were provided, although Flemming did write that, “Two of the missing young people are in our care as unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.
“The police are actively searching for all three young people and all is being done to achieve their safe return,” Flemming said.
Child care and victims of abuse ought to be the highest priority for every local authority across the country, but even more so following the shocking revelations following the Rotherham scandal.
Flemming said that in Croydon, the children’s safeguarding and quality assurance service is holding regular “strategy meetings attended by the police and our partners to ensure that all necessary actions are being taken to trace and return them”.
She also said that there is “on-going local and national media publicity”.
However, when Inside Croydon contacted the Croydon Campaign Against Trafficking, the charity that has been working for a decade to reduce the number of people from being used as modern-day slaves, often in the sex industry, the official there said that the disappearance of three children from council care “is news to me”.
There is a fear that the missing children may have been abducted by traffickers, and Peter Cox, the chairman of CCAT, said that if the children have been snatched, it is very likely that they will have been moved well away from south London long ago.
“Traffickers are experts at moving people around – they would take people possibly a hundred miles away, to somewhere where they will not be recognised, and somewhere where the victims won’t know the area,” Cox said.
With the Border Agency’s Lunar House in central Croydon as a first-point of call for many new arrivals in Britain, previous reports have suggested that there can be as many as 500 unaccompanied children in the borough, seeking asylum. Many of these youngsters could be seen to be vulnerable to predatory human traffickers who operate in the area.
Maria Gatland, the Conservative ward councillor for Croham who first raised the matter of the missing children with the council, is likely to pursue their disappearance at the scrutiny meeting being held at the Town Hall tonight.
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Coming to Croydon
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- David Lean Cinema: Finding Vivian Maier, Oct 16
- 21st annual Croydon and Sutton Beer Festival, Oct 16-18
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Oct 18
- South Croydon business breakfast, Oct 18
- Purley War Memorial Hospital health fair, Oct 18
- Maya Angelou tribute concert, Fairfield Halls, Oct 18
- St John’s, Shirley, charity concert, Oct 19
- David Lean Cinema: Mood Indigo, Oct 23
- This Was The World and I Was King, Spread Eagle, Oct 23-25
- Upper Norwood Library Book Club, 2.30pm, Oct 25
- David Lean Cinema: Ilo Ilo, Oct 28
- CODA’s Wind In The Willows, Charles Cryer, Carshalton, Oct 29-Nov 1
- David Lean Cinema: Belle, Oct 30
- NHS free health fair, Central Parade, New Addington, Oct 31
- MOPAC policing meeting, Surrey Street, Nov 4
- St Giles School opening morning, Nov 5
- Albert Einstein – Relativity Speaking, Spread Eagle, Nov 12-15
- South Croydon business breakfast, Nov 15
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
- Choose Your Own Documentary, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 21-22
- The Last Sense of Sudden, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 27-29
- Ghost Stories for Christmas, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 3
- Fog Horn Funnies, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 6
- Coulsdon Yulefest, Dec 6-7
- South Croydon business breakfast, Dec 13
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
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