Doctors and medical staff have confirmed that at least seven boys, aged between 14 and 16, have been raped inside the so-called ‘Jungle’ migrant camp in Calais.
In four of the cases the boys had been abused so brutally they required surgery. Three of them declined treatment, however, because of fear repercussions and losing their honour.
Medical volunteers based near Calais made the revelations to the Independent. They said that all of the boys had injuries consistent with the crimes they had reported. A General Medical Council (GMC) registered doctor later confirmed knowledge of all of the cases.
There was thought to be dozens of unaccompanied migrant children in the illegal ‘Jungle’ camp until recently, and in January, a senior representative of Europol estimated that 10,000 such children had gone missing within Europe.
The shocking revelations have led to fresh concerns around the lack of child protection in the camps, as well as the difficulty of policing the lawless settlement of stateless people.
Widespread crime and violence, which overspills into the nearby town, was part of the reason the southern side of the camp has now been dismantled. As demolition teams moved in, the camp descended into “guerrilla warfare”, with huts set on fire and journalists attacked.
“Refugee rights group says ‘73% of respondents have experienced first-hand police violence during their time in Calais’, tweeted the Channel 4 News journalist Alex Thompson yesterday.
“But they will not tell you Jungle migrants/refugees routinely attack trucks driving to the port. They routinely rob people entering the Jungle at knifepoint. And they routinely attack the police with stones and throwing other debris at them”, he added.
The camp has become a dangerous place for children. A spokesman for Save the Children acknowledged that sexual abuse has become a major worry for migrant children in Calais and across Europe:
“We know that unaccompanied children, of whom there are over 400 in the camp and tens of thousands across the continent, are the most vulnerable of the vulnerable. They have travelled hundreds of miles without the protection of adults or families.
“They face exploitation in all different forms, including sexual exploitation, often at the hands of criminal gangs. Save the Children has seen it in Italy, in Greece and in Calais too unfortunately”, she said.