After a slew of calls to investigate the matter, British Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick announced to members of Parliament on Tuesday that hundreds of child asylum seekers have gone missing since the British government started housing them in hotels, according to CNN.
"Out of the 4,600 unaccompanied children that have been accommodated in hotels since July 2021, there have been 440 missing occurrences and 200 children still remain missing," Jenrick said.
Out of the 200, 13 are under the age of 16, and one is female. The majority of the ones missing (88%) are Albanian, and the remaining 12% are either from Egypt, Afghanistan, India, Vietnam, Turkey, or Pakistan.
During his speech to Parliament, Jenrick blamed the increase in migrant boat crossings through the English Channel to the U.K., which left the government "no alternative" than to use "specialist hotels" to accommodate minors as of July 2021.
Initially, the British government's utilization of hotels for housing was only a temporary solution, but in recent years the system to process asylum claims in the U.K. collapsed, leaving many in limbo for months or even years — trapped in temporary hotels or processing facilities unable to work.
The first mention of the missing children was reported Saturday by the British publication the Observer.
"Dozens of asylum-seeking children have been kidnapped by gangs from a Brighton hotel run by the Home Office in a pattern apparently being repeated across the south coast," according to the report.
Since the report, calls have been mounting for an investigation.
But in a statement to CNN, the U.K. Home Office has called such reports untrue.
"The wellbeing of children in our care is an absolute priority," a spokesperson said.
The spokesperson then added they had "robust safeguarding procedures" in place and "when a child goes missing, local authorities work closely with agencies, including the police, to urgently establish their whereabouts."
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.