Brussels Sees Surge of ‘Glue-Addicted’ North African Children

A Belgian kitchen give a meal to refugees and migrants at a park in Brussels on August 22, 2017. Hundreds of migrants, most of them Sudanese and Eritrean, who hope to join the United Kingdom, sleep every night in a park in Brussels. It is a phenomenon that has emerged …
JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

The Belgian capital of Brussels has seen the arrival of dozens of migrant street children in recent months, many addicted to glue-sniffing and alcohol.

The minors, who are generally between the ages of nine and 14, are said to have mainly come from Algeria and Morocco, and have travelled to the Belgian capital in their dozens since June of this year, broadcaster BX1 reports.

Many of the young migrants have come not directly from North Africa but from other European Union member states like France, Spain, or Sweden.

David Lowyck, director of Minor Nkado Centre, a centre for minor migrants, said that the children often live on the street or in squats and live by means of petty theft.

“They are also children who are addicted to glue, ether or alcohol. Real street children,” he added.

“It’s hard to know if these children are really from human trafficking but since some have already been arrested for theft far from Brussels, it is believed a network uses these children,” Lowyck said.

Lowyck went on to note that few of the children stay at the centre for more than a night at a time before going back on the streets, saying: “We do not serve alcohol, and they cannot use drugs here, so they are quickly reminded of their addictions and leave.”

The French capital of Paris has experienced a similar phenomenon in recent years, with Moroccan street children causing havoc in certain areas of the city and committing robberies.

Last year it was revealed that French police had arrested a total of over 1,500 Moroccans after they joined forces with Moroccan police to identify and help deport the migrants back to their native country.

Hower, while many of the migrants were detained, just six of them were actually deported, and both forces determined that in at least 42 of the 219 files examined, the migrants were actually adults and not children.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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