LETTER: The Calais jungle was like a vision of ‘Hell’

Last year I made two trips to the Jungle in Calais. The trips changed my attitudes in so many ways and, having experienced the conditions of squalor and desperation that people were living in, I felt I’d seen a vision of Hell.

Many incidents remain in my memory but, after our MP, Lucy Frazer QC voted to oppose our country taking in 3,000 unaccompanied children, one encounter came to the fore.

A young boy, small, and looking like he could do with a hot meal, a warm bath, clean clothes and a dry bed walked up to our van asking if we had anything we could give him. He looked about 10-12 years old.

I have no idea if he was alone or in the care of others. Had he been living in the UK in such squalor he would have been taken into care for his protection.

I thought about him after MPs voted to reject the ‘dubs amendment’ that would have allowed 3000 unaccompanied refugee children to enter the UK from Europe.

I wondered what became of him, did he find refuge or has he disappeared into the black underbelly of society? Amnesty estimate that 100000 children have disappeared during to migrant crisis in Europe.

Some may have found safety, others may be exploited by criminal gangs and yet others may be in the hands of child sex rings.

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When Lucy Frazer kisses her kids good night I’d like her to think about that boy. During the election she was proud of her ancestry; The UK offered her forebears sanctuary from anti-Semitism in Europe. The fled from fear and found safety. Alf Dubs came to the UK on the Kindertransport, a lost and lonely child saved from Nazi horror. Alf thanks the generation that saved him by trying to extend a welcome to today’s lost and lonely children. Lucy turns her back on the generous generation that welcomed her grandparents and voted to slam the door on vulnerable kids like the boy I met in Calais.


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