Children as young as seven ‘sexually assaulted’ in Greek refugee camps
the girl described how she was sexually abused. It has scarred a
seven-year-old child for life’
Children as young as seven have been sexually assaulted in official European refugee camps, it has been reported.
Others are reportedly too afraid to leave their tents at night amid
fears they could also be targeted, following a number of disturbing
allegations about life in the camps.
One volunteer serving at the Softex camp in Greece told The Observer young
girls are being groomed by male gangs. He said on one occasion an Iraqi
family had been moved to emergency accommodation following a sexual
assault on their 7-year-old daughter.
He said: “The parents are still in disbelief over what happened. A
man from one of the ‘mafia’ groups asked their seven-year-old daughter
into their tent to play games on his phone and then zipped up the tent.
“She came back with marks on her arms and neck. Later the girl
described how she was sexually abused. It has scarred a seven-year-old
child for life.”
The family are reportedly no longer wishing to stay in Europe, but seeking to return to Iraq following the attack.
Other charities and aid agencies say they have also heard reports of
children and women being sexually assaulted at the camps, fuelling
concerns they do not provide adequate protection for vulnerable
Labour MP Yvette Cooper said the allegations should “shame us all”
and serve as a reminder of how much more the UK must do to support
refugees. She told The Observer: “The UK government needs to
urgently wake up to its responsibility. Parliament passed the amendment
exactly because we were worried about child refugees being exploited,
trafficked and sexually abused because other countries were overwhelmed
with the scale of the problem.”
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