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19 April 2016
The House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee, chaired by Baroness Prashar, has launched an inquiry into separated children in the EU. SCEP has submitted written evidence to this Committee. SCEP has provided reliable data on the number, age, gender, and nationality of separated children in the EU and information on the reception, protection and the integration of these children.
In the UK, there are concerns regarding the increasing number of separated children who go missing from care facilities and who are at risk of becoming victims of human trafficking. Also, it is acknowledged by the European Commission that '"the arrival of unaccompanied children on EU territory is not a temporary development, but a long-term feature of migration into the EU. There is and will continue to be a need for a common EU approach.''
Because of the ongoing refugee crisis is likely that situation in which these children find themselves will worsen. Therefore, the House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee conducted an inquiry in order to investigate the situation of separated children in the EU. The aims of the inquiry were the following:
· to shed light on the nature and scale of the problems faced by separated children in EU Member States, including those issues which are by nature clandestine and hidden from view.
· to consider whether EU provisions on separated children translate into clear obligations for national bodies and professionals at all levels.
· to assess the achievements of the 2010–2014 Action Plan on Unaccompanied Minors and to explore developments since its expiration.
· to identify remaining gaps in law and policy and explore options for further cooperation among EU Member States.