Two men arrested as dozens of children go missing from Hove hotel

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of intent to commit human trafficking amid a scandal that has seen dozens of children go missing from a hotel run by the Home Office.

It comes as more than 100 children have been reported missing from hotels in Brighton and Hove since the Home Office began housing asylum seekers in the city in July 2021.

Some 76 children remain missing, with police still investigating their whereabouts.

Sussex Police confirmed the men were arrested following a report of two children housed at one of the hotels getting into a car.

The car was stopped by police along the M25 in May last year, with three young passengers taken into the care of the Home Office.

The suspects have been released under investigation, with enquiries still ongoing.

It comes as calls for an urgent investigation grow after the Observer revealed that dozens of children were kidnapped from hotels in the city.

However, Sussex Police said they have “received no reports of people being kidnapped from the hotels”.

A police spokesman said: “Since the Home Office began housing asylum seekers in hotels in Brighton and Hove in July 2021, 137 unaccompanied children have been reported missing.

“Of these, 60 have been located and 76 remain under investigation. One has been transferred to a neighbouring force.

“We have received no reports of people being kidnapped from the hotels.

“On 25 May, 2022, we received a report of two children housed at one of the hotels getting into a car nearby. The vehicle was stopped on the M25 and two men were arrested on suspicion of intent to commit human trafficking. Three young passengers were taken into the care of the Home Office. Both suspects have been released under investigation. The investigation is ongoing.

“When people go missing, our primary role is to investigate the circumstances including assessing if they are vulnerable or could have been a victim of crime. If risks to their safety are identified, we and other appropriate parties will take action to safeguard them.

“Once a person is located, where criminality is associated with either the initial disappearance or subsequent harbouring of those wishing to remain missing, Sussex Police will assess and take positive action as appropriate.

“We continue to work with the Home Office to help put prevention measures in place, including multi-agency safeguarding meetings with other partners, to ensure that, when people are reported missing, we have the best opportunity to locate them.”



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