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Government child services 'overwhelmed' by arrival of unaccompanied minors over summer

More than 950 migrant children arrived in Catalonia in July and August, according to Minister of Work, Social Affairs and Family

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19 September 2018 12:54 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

The arrival of more than 950 unaccompanied minor migrants in Catalonia during July and August overwhelmed government child services, according to the Minister of Work, Social Affairs and Family.

"We must be aware that we are in over our heads," said Esquerra's Chakir El Homrani in an interview with the Catalan public channel TV3 on Wednesday.

He compared the figures to 2015, when 370 unattended children and young people came to the country throughout the whole year.

Trafficking

There is also a new profile of minor migrants coming to Catalonia, he recognized: Asian girls trafficked to the country by mafias. Some of them enter via Barcelona airport, according to what the Catalan media outlet ARA reported on Wednesday.

According to Homrani, trafficking children is not the responsibility of the government, but rather of airport security.

Despite this, he recognized that "vulnerable people" being taken advantage of "cannot be allowed.

"Welcoming everybody"

In order to solve the influx of unaccompanied minor migrants this summer, the Ministry of Work, Social Affairs and Family set up a reception facility "to welcome everybody." This policy, however, "has generated tension," he said.

In order to integrate the youths into society, 10% of places in new opportunity centres have been reserved for them.

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  • An infant rescued by Catalan NGO Proactiva Open Arms (From Proactiva Open Arms' Instagram)

  • An infant rescued by Catalan NGO Proactiva Open Arms (From Proactiva Open Arms' Instagram)