Reality Check How many children are in the Calais “Jungle”?


Reality Check: How many children are in the Calais “Jungle”?

Image caption
Many of the migrants are living in make shift accommodation in the “Jungle”

Children in the Calais “Jungle” are crossing the Channel to be reunited with their families who have previously made the journey to the UK.

But how many child migrants are there in the camp?

There are no firm figures for the number of people or children living in the Jungle camp.

They are not registered with the French authorities and the numbers are constantly changing as some leave and new people arrive.

But there are estimates.

Officials in Calais conducted a “visual survey” of the Jungle last week and estimated that there are around 6,500 people currently there, 1,200 of them are unaccompanied children.

Charities that work in the camp estimate that there are around 1,000 unaccompanied children out of a population of around 10,000 people living in the Jungle.

An unaccompanied child in this context is anyone under the age of 18, separated from both parents and not being cared for by an adult who in law or by custom has responsibility to do so.

The most vulnerable unaccompanied children are girls, those under the age of 13, and orphans.

The youngest child

The Safe Passage UK charity said it had identified, in August, 387 children who could be resettled in the UK and passed this list to the Home Office.

One hundred and eighty-seven of those children could be resettled under the EU”s Dublin regulation, which allows unaccompanied refugee children to be placed in a country where they have a relative who can be responsible for their care.

The rest could be brought to the UK on the basis of an amendment to the Immigration Act, originally put forward by Lord Dubs, which requires the government to arrange for the transfer to the UK of unaccompanied refugee children from Europe.

On the charity”s August list, the youngest child was eight years old, but the majority of them were between 14 and 17.

Difficult to assess

Children seeking asylum have to first apply for asylum in France, and then the claim can be transferred to the UK if they have relatives here.

It is not always easy to assess the claims. While some of the children, especially those who have come from Syria, have some of their identity documents with them, many do not.

The Home Office says it has identified more than 80 unaccompanied children who have been accepted for transfer to the UK from France under the Dublin regulation and nearly all of whom have now arrived in the UK.