5,000 signatures reached
To: Editors of The Sun, the Daily Star, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express
Stop the press revealing identities of Calais children
Stop risking children's security and inciting discrimination by publishing photographs and personal details about unaccompanied young people arriving in the UK from Calais
Why is this important?
Publication of photos and personal details can risk the security of unaccompanied young people, who are known to be at a high risk of human trafficking and may be exposed to hate crime.
The language used by The Sun, the Daily Star, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express to describe these young people arriving from the 'jungle' camp in Calais is incendiary and inhumane. The deliberate questioning of age, without due care to safety or lawful processes, has the very real potential to expose individuals to abuse, racism and hatred whilst in the UK.
International law makes it clear that anyone under the age of 18 is a child. Unaccompanied children frequently have no documents to prove their age. Some don’t even know their own chronological age. Others have had their identities faked by human traffickers. There is a duty on the UK to give those in such situations the ‘benefit of the doubt’ where there is reason to believe they may be a child.
The current approach of 'trial by media' undermines these young people's right to fair and impartial assessments of their individual circumstances. It ignores well-established, legal processes that are designed to protect those most in need and undermines the validity of the laws to protect children and refugees.
ECPAT UK is a leading children’s rights organisation campaigning to prevent child trafficking, transnational child abuse and child exploitation for the past 20 years. To complement our research, policy and campaigning activity, we run peer support groups for child victims of trafficking and deliver training to a broad range of professionals. For more info about our charity, visit: www.ecpat.org.uk.