AYS Digest 24/1/23: Unaccompanied minors ‘under Home Office protection’ go missing in the UK

Are You Syrious?
7 min readJan 24, 2023

Rise in homelessness after closure of ESTIA programme in Greece // EU military presence on Libyan coast extended // #FloorToTheExperts — combatting misinformation and clarifying the responsibilities and importance of organisations at sea // Sea Punks need crew members // podcasts, videos & more…

Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash


Children continue to go missing in Home Office accommodation and not enough is being done

As previously reported in the AYS UK Special, several hundred unaccompanied minors have disappeared from Home Office accommodation.

In October 2022, it was reported that 222 asylum-seeking children had been kidnapped from hotels in Brighton. Many have been taken by gangs and traffickers. A hotel in Kent estimates that about 10% of the children staying there are taken each week.

Whistleblowers and hotel staff have testified, saying that they have seen gangs loitering around outside buildings, and believe children are dragged into cars passing by.

The Home Office are, and have been for a long time, aware of the disappearance of asylum seeking children. Hotel and Home Office staff have reported the missing cases and their concerns but with no response and nothing done to look into the cases. Some Home Office representatives have even lied about the disappearances and have continued to deny the likely involvement of traffickers.

As a response, the Home Office claim they have and will continue to look into safeguarding procedures, working in collaboration with councils and the police. They have also highlighted the need to stop using hotels to house children, and rather more secure, and safe accommodation. An investigation is under way. However, ministers continue to push the responsibilities onto councils and attempt to reduce their own involvement in the lack of protection for asylum seeking children.


Rise in homelessness after closure of the ESTIA programme

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

AYS has previously reported on the ESTIA programme, which officially ended in late 2022. The result has been an increase in homelessness among refugees and asylum seekers over the last few months.

The apparent plan was to disperse all the thousands of individuals staying in ESTIA housing to camps around Greece. However, for those whose asylum applications had been rejected, they were not accepted in camps. For others, the conditions in the camps were far worse than the prospect of sleeping on the street.

You can read about the stories of several individuals who found themselves homeless after the closure of the ESTIA programme: Thousands of refugees back out in the cold | eKathimerini.com

Two people at Evros river, asking for protection from the Greek authorities

Mitarakis claims that numbers of asylum seekers arriving in Greece has notably decreased in the last 2 years

He celebrates the increased border control, tightening of migration laws, and faster asylum procedures that have all contributed to a decrease in arrivals. He does conveniently neglect the multitude of allegations against the Hellenic Coastguard for its participation in pushbacks, which will have had a very big impact on the numbers of individuals arriving in Greece.

Citizen Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos met with 27 ambassadors from EU countries, advertising Greece’s prolific denial of the right to claim asylum

“To the ambassadors, the minister outlined the situation at the Greek-Turkish border in Evros, and he pointed out that the entry of some 260,000 undocumented migrants were prevented during 2022, while around 1,500 human traffickers were arrested during that time.

Some 300–400 such migrants are prevented from illegally crossing the Greek border every day, he added, and he reiterated his recent announcement that another 400 border patrol officers will be hired at Evros in 2023.”


Operation Irini — EU military presence on Libyan coast extended until at least March 2025

An internal EU memo has outlined the need for Irini to remain working on the Libyan coast for at least another few years. Irini supports Frontex by providing them with data on migration, which is then used in their partnership with the Libyan Coastguard. The recent EU memo included a statement highlighting the worrying circumstances of refugees in Libya and the fact they had failed to improve conditions of people on the move in the country.

Despite the humanitarian and moral element in this memo, it is still very evident that the EU just want to ensure their presence remains and they are able to continue their air surveillance in the region.

#FloorToTheExperts — combatting misinformation and clarifying the responsibilities and importance of organisations at sea

A recent example of the crucial role organisations play in alerting authorities and potential rescue ships of boats, saving thousands of lives at sea

43 individuals were rescued by a tanker, after AlarmPhone had alerted authorities about the sinking boat. The merchant vessel, IBLEA, transported the group to Italy.

Sea Punks need crew members!


Frontex claim they will no longer carry out pushbacks

Following on from Fabrice Leggeri and the interim Frontex director, Aija Klanaja, the new director, Hans Leijtens, states that they will no longer carry out pushbacks. He will start his new role on March 1st and has committed to greater transparency and a less defensive attitude and response to their work.

Source: New Frontex chief vows to end illegal pushbacks of migrants at border | Euronews


Utopia 56 reporting on the numbers of street homeless families they came across last week

After a year of documentation, Tous migrants have published a report on the illegitimate prevention of asylum claims on the French-Italian border

Tous migrants note that,

“Numerous investigations have been carried out on the French-Italian border since 2017 by charities and collectives, as well as by independent bureaucratic authorities, and by the European and French parliaments. These investigations have had almost no political response, nor instigated any significant change in the practices of border authorities.”

Read their report in full below:



Care4Calais — information on the conditions of refugees in Rwanda in 2018 that led up to the killing of at least 11 people by Rwandan police

A report from a protest in solidarity with Libyan refugees in London


Fewer people arriving in the Canary Islands this January

As dissuasion from leaving Morocco rises, significantly fewer people have been arriving to the Canary Islands by boat.

More on the Canary Islands:


  • InfoMigrants presents season one of its podcast Tales from the Border. In a series of eight episodes, Tales from the Border takes listeners on an audio journey to some of the borders — the political and physical barriers — that confront migrants as they attempt to reach their destination in Europe.
  • The family of a pushback survivor to sue Greece:
  • Frontex’s misleading numbers:

Frontex have ‘counted’ 330,000 people irregularly entering Europe in 2022, but AFP point out that this refers to the number of entries, not the number of people who have arrived in Europe, which is likely to be much lower given the prevalence of pushbacks. IOM suggest 187,000 people have entered Europe ‘irregularly’ this year.

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Are You Syrious?

News digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and people on the move, but also for journalists, decision makers and other parties.