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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Meg Munn MP calls on government to protect the invisible children

Monday, April 15, 2002

April 10, 2002

Meg Munn, Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley will today call for urgent action from the Government to protect what have been described as ‘the invisible children’: children travelling to the UK without their parents. Meg is sponsoring a 10 Minute Rule Bill that is being presented to the House of Commons, which urges the Government to establish a tracking system that would address an existing gap in immigration procedure.

Currently, there is no system in place to track children entering the UK without their parent. Social services departments have admitted that a large number of children could be entering the UK and can easily get lost from the system. In many countries, it is common for children to be brought up by the extended family and many children are brought to Britain with promises of better education. Once within the country however, the only people aware of the child’s existence are the guardians, which leaves the child extremely vulnerable.

The Bill is intended to enable parents to register their arrangements with immigration authorities at the entry application stage. Once registered with immigration, this would automatically prompt a referral to agencies such as social services, health and education in the country where the child is traveling.

Meg commented, "Children’s charities, such as the NSPCC, believe that children unaccompanied by their parents, are particularly vulnerable to child trafficking both as they leave their country of origin and on arrival in another country. They are aware that children are trafficked into the UK and other European countries for the purpose of prostitution, child pornography, organised begging and benefit fraud."

"This is the establishment of a tracking system which would address an existing gap in immigration procedures, when children travel without their parents. The recent Victoria Climbi? case demonstrates all too clearly how a child entering the UK without their parents, can fall through the net provided by health, education and child protection services. In some cases as this one with tragic consequences."

"I hope that this Bill will highlight the current gaps in the law and bring about real changes, so that cases such as that of Victoria Climbi? can never happen again."


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