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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 June 2007, 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK
Child asylum seekers given care
Seventy child asylum seekers are being looked after by local authorities in Nottinghamshire after arriving in the UK without their parents, figures show.

The majority have come from conflict zones after being sent by parents who have paid thousands of pounds to help them make a new life in Europe.

Most end up being dumped by lorries at service stations, including Markham Moor near Newark and Trowell on the M1.

The responsibility then lies with city and county councils to provide care.

Some children have also been found on Nottingham's ring road.

I love my home but if you can't live in your country what can you do?
Seevan

Figures obtained by BBC East Midlands Today found the Nottingham City Council was looking after 39 unaccompanied child asylum seekers with 31 being cared for by Nottinghamshire County Council.

Police hand the youngsters, who are under 18, to social services, who try to find foster homes for them.

Seevan, an Iranian Kurd, now 18-years-old, arrived in Nottingham three years ago without speaking a word of English.

He said: "Everybody loves their country. I love my home but if you can't live in your country what can you do? You have to live.

"I thought they would take me to a family because I really needed family but they didn't. I miss my mum a lot - I don't think I will see her again."

'Scared youngsters'

Peter Vallelly of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: "We've had children as young as 12-years-old.

"Sometimes they can be very, very poorly. We've had young people with pleurisy and pneumonia.

"We have had them trafficked for the purposes of prostitution, so they will become a young person who is seeking asylum but actually there's also very serious safeguarding and responsibility for the local authority to protect those young people from exploitation as well.

"We do deal with some very scared young people. Often we do have concerns about their overall mental wellbeing."

Home Office figures show that 6,000 unaccompanied asylum seekers are being cared for by local authorities in the UK.




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