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Court case puts focus on missing migrant juveniles

A recent immigration case at the Magistrates Court has placed a spotlight on how the authorities in Gibraltar deal with complex cases involving unaccompanied migrant children who cross the Strait of Gibraltar in search of a better life.

This comes after a 17-year old boy from Morocco was found in an inflatable canoe two miles off Sandy Bay along with a 24-year old man.

He was arrested and charged for being a non-Gibraltarian in Gibraltar without a valid permit of residence and taken before the Magistrates Court last Saturday, where he was released into the custody of the Care Agency.

But at a subsequent hearing later that week, the court was told that the teenager had gone missing.

The Care Agency had allowed the boy to leave one of its residential premises and told him to return by 3pm. He never came back.

The Care Agency has filed a missing persons report with the Royal Gibraltar Police, but privately, officials believe the boy has crossed into Spain.

This is not an isolated case.

Over the past two years, there have been several similar cases in which young migrant children have been released by the courts into the care of the Care Agency, only for the youngsters to vanish within days at most.


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