Police and the local government in Herford, Germany, have been accused of covering up the rape of a child at an asylum home for almost two weeks.
The alleged rape occurred two weeks ago at the former British Harewood Barracks which was recently converted into an asylum shelter. The man accused of the rape, a Ghanian of unknown age, is said to have sexually abused a 10-year-old girl originally from a former Soviet republic, local newspaper Westfalen-Blatt reports.
The 10-year-old is said to have been raped so brutally she had to be taken to a nearby hospital.
Senior prosecutor Udo Vennewald said: “He is a man from Ghana. We’ve got a warrant, and the man is sitting behind bars.”
The man has since been charged with the sexual abuse of a minor. Though his asylum claim is independent of the case, he is unlikely to receive a positive decision as only 3.4 per cent of Ghanaians are accepted for asylum.
Fearing revenge attacks once the news of the rape became widely known, police recommended many of the Africans in the asylum centre should move to a different facility. The local government rejected the proposal.
Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig, the independent commissioner for Issues of Child Sexual Abuse for the German Federal Government, has warned since 2015 of the vulnerability of children in asylum homes. No accurate figures exist for the number of children abused.
The total number of sex abuse cases in North Rhine-Westphalia in which asylum seekers were the victims totalled 119 cases in 2016, though no record of the age of the victims is kept.
There have been several cases in which asylum seekers have abused underage children in asylum homes, not only in Germany but also in other countries like Sweden. In one particular case, a group of Afghan migrants brutally assaulted a boy both sexually and physically and filmed the entire ordeal in the Swedish city of Uppsala.
In other cases, migrants have sexually assaulted minors outside of asylum homes, most notably in swimming pools and outdoor festivals. Earlier this month, several Syrian asylum seekers were arrested in Löbau after filming underage girls at an outdoor swimming pool and sexually molesting them. The men involved were aged 19 to 30 years old.
Underage migrants in asylum homes face physical harm from adult migrants, as well. A case in Arnschwang this month saw a 41-year-old Afghan migrant stab a five-year-old child to death before being shot by police.