Unaccompanied minor migrants sleeping in police stations

Government orders transferral to special welcoming centres, but child services overwhelmed

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) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

September 21, 2018 08:10 PM

The number of unaccompanied minor migrants arriving in Catalonia is rising, as migration routes are shut off and borders closed, according to a recent government statement. Many of them end up sleeping in police stations for several days.

The government has now ordered them to be transferred to special hosting centres, but the system is overwhelmed.

"It cannot be that there are children sleeping in police stations. It is unacceptable, completely unacceptable. Therefore we must do the most we can," said Barcelona mayor regarding the matter. "We're talking about very young children who need proper attention. Not just a bed and food, but also company and education," she added.

In July and August alone, more than 950 children came to the country with no family by their side, overwhelming child services. 

The hosting centres are stretched to their limits. They have had no time to prepare for taking in more children, and there is not enough staff to attend to each child's needs.

For one Child Protection Collective made up of 95 different entities, the government needs to guarantee their welfare.

"For months a big effort to take them in has been made but, simply put, there are moments when a new person with no family or a certain situation put at risk what is already there," said FEDAIA's director Bàrbar Ortuño. The group call for maximum guarantees that the children are attended to properly.