Those with even half an eye on the news can’t have failed to notice the disastrous humanitarian situation on the UK border that is the build up of refugees in Calais, and other places along the French coast, notably Dunkirk. Amongst the many, many horrific things going on there (lack of basic necessities, such as food, shelter, water, sanitation; lack of healthcare; police violence; violence from far right groups), there have been various disturbing reports of sexual violence. People in desperate conditions do desperate things. (Sometimes, people are just generally horrible.) People – including children in the main camp – are being raped, and coerced into prostitution (i.e., raped for money). Moreover, the French authorities brutal and inhumane method of dismantling the camp, with no proper plan for where its residents will go and how they will be supported, just adds to the problem. They have built an official camp for the ‘Jungle’ residents, but it seems the provision is insufficient for the number of people actually living in the Calais Jungle, and many refugees are nervous about moving there, as they worry they will effectively be imprisoned. Unaccompanied minors are at high risk of exploitation. Children living on the streets without even the scant protection afforded by being with a larger community are at even greater risk. Quite what ordinary citizens do about this is unclear. Writing to our official representatives seems like a good start, although it’s easy to become despondent about how much effect that has.
You can read more from the Independent.
There is a petition you can sign here.