STILL NO INVESTIGATION INTO THE
450+ MISSING REFUGEE KIDS!
HUSH HUSH GOES
SHUSH SHUSH GOES THE HSE!
The silence concerning missing
refugee children has been growing, and growing and
growing and growing!
At last someone in the Irish
Times is allowed to write about the missing refugee
What happened to all the missing foreign
children - The Irish Times - Sat, Feb 27, 2010
The Irish Times - Saturday, February 27, 2010
What happened to all the missing
THERE IS something about a photograph. When you
dont know someone personally, a photograph
makes the person real and vivid in a way no amount of
verbal description can. When the person has
previously just been just a statistic, the impact is
infinitely greater, writes BREDA O'BRIEN
Although I have often written about the scandalous
numbers of children who have gone missing while in
the care of the Health Service Executive, somehow I
had never visited the http://ie.missingkids.com
website. When I finally did so last week, I found
myself stunned that there is not a daily outcry to
find these young people.
Are we, as Phil Garland, HSE assistant national
director for children and families, suggested, simply
racist? The first thing that struck me was the huge
amount of foreign faces, although it is a website for
all missing children.
Among the girls, many are Chinese or African. Two
in particular caught my attention Xiao Ming
Chen, aged 15, with her heavy fringe, fragile
shoulders and tense, pretty face, and Caroline Njoki
from Kenya, aged 13, with her huge, sombre eyes.
As a second level teacher, they remind me of
pupils. I can only imagine the resources that would
be marshalled and the blanket media coverage if Irish
children whom I teach went missing. Between 2000 and
2009 a total of 501 migrant children went missing
from HSE care. Only 67 have been successfully traced.
There are 434 missing children, and we go about
our daily business as if nothing of any major import
A November 2009 Report of the Office of the
Childrens Ombudsman on separated children
highlighted the stark contrast between how Irish and
asylum-seeking children are treated. From January to
May 2009, apart from children seeking asylum, 53
other children went missing from HSE care.
Of these, only two remain missing, and even here,
contact was made with them. From January to May 2009,
27 asylum-seeking children went missing, and at the
time of the reports publication, only two were
accounted for. (Seven more have since been traced.)
In a bitter irony, an asylum-seeking child who was
assisting the ombudsmans office with its
research went missing from school. By the time of
publication of the report, her picture had not
appeared on the missing childrens website, and
there was no publicity about the case.
It is more than puzzling that, given there are 434
missing children, my own search of ie.missingkids.com
for the last 10 years showed up records for only 48
girls and 90 boys. Why are the others not on the
One Opposition TD, Denis Naughten of Fine Gael,
has been on a mission for some time to raise
awareness of the plight of these young people. When
he spoke to me during the week, he confirmed that the
numbers of children disappearing dropped dramatically
towards the end of last year.
As far as Naughten can ascertain, five children
disappeared in September, of whom three were traced.
None disappeared in October and November, and one in
December. (The child in December was traced and
returned to care.) He finds it difficult even to get
facts and figures from the HSE. His requests for
figures for January have not, to date, even been
He went on to say that while it is good that the
numbers are dropping, what about the more than 400
still unaccounted for? He suggests imagining an Irish
teenager missing in, say, Russia, with no knowledge
of the language or culture, and vulnerable to every
type of exploitation.
A statement from the HSE said that the issue of
separated children who go missing from care was
complex, and was sometimes simplified and
It has been unsubstantiated that any of the
children who go missing from HSE care have been
trafficked. So where are they then?
When we look to our nearest neighbour, Britain,
the assertion that those alleging that these children
may have been trafficked are just simplifying and
sensationalising the issue begins to sound hollow.
The Guardian newspaper has carried out a number of
investigations of children who went missing very
quickly from state care, and in particular, Chinese
children. The newspapers reporters have even
travelled to China, to the province of Fujian, from
where many of the children who end up in Britain
A very disturbing picture emerges. Communities
club together to fund a person to go abroad, in the
expectation that the person will thrive and send
money home regularly. A Chinese researcher posing as
a would-be migrant was told that if she could raise
£15,000, getting her into Britain by a circuitous
route would be no problem.
What about her 12-year-old sister, the researcher
asked? No problem. They send lots of children, and
it is 100 per cent safe. Far from being
safe, the Guardian uncovered ample evidence that many
Chinese girls end up in prostitution.
Another Chinese woman working on behalf of the
Guardian answered an advertisement for a housekeeper
in a brothel, and discovered young, exhausted and
utterly demoralised young Chinese women there who had
been trafficked. They were too ashamed to tell their
families what had happened. You grit your teeth
and endure the pain, one said.
Is the same happening in Ireland? Are others in
virtual slavery, working in homes and businesses? No
doubt many have been moved out of Ireland, as it is
recognised that Ireland is seen as an EU entry point.
It is important to acknowledge progress, such as
the gradual closure of unsuitable hostels, and a
reduction in the numbers who simply walk out of HSE
care, never to be seen again.
However, what about finding the children missing
to date? Is it not about time the Irish public joined
Denis Naughten and other childrens rights
advocates in the demand for answers?
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Also The Garda have concealed the
true figures for missing Irish residents since the
However, finally - the truth creeps
true figure for missing persons in Ireland could be
Kilkenny People 23rd October 1998 states that over
90+ people were missing at that time BUT the GARDA
had only the missing 6 women from Leinster on their
The people of Ireland HAVE TO WAKE UP to the
reality that the Irish Police have been covering up
the TRUE FIGURES FOR THE IRISH MISSING!
I call on the politicians to call for an inquiry
into these matters!
If they dont they will one day be held to account
by the people of Ireland for their cowardice and
abrogation of their duties as public representatives!