12:05 GMT +320 April 2018
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    Claims of child abuse at an official EU refugee camp

    EU Migrant Camps Home to Sexual Predators Abusing Children as Young as Seven

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    An official EU migrant camp in Greece is host to women and children too afraid to go outside their tents due to the rise in sexual abuse.

    New revelations that children as young as seven have been abused in an EU migrant camp have emerged, a report states that charities working at the venues are concerned by the growing number of abuse claims presented to them by young children and adults.

    The Softex refugee camp, which used to be a toilet roll factory and sits on the outskirts of Thessaloniki in Greece hosts some 1,400 asylum seekers from the war-torn country of Syria. Of the 1,400 refugees, 140 are thought to be children.

    A volunteer at the camp, who asked for his identity to be concealed, said that the young girls were being groomed by sexual predators at the camp and as a result they had been coerced into performing sexual acts on adult men.

    "A man from one of the 'mafia' groups asked their seven-year-old daughter into their tent to play games on his phone and then zipped up the tent. She came back with marks on her arms and neck. Later the girl described how she was sexually abused. It has scarred a seven-year-old child for life," the volunteer said in a recent interview.

    The Sofetex refugee camp was built in response to the closure of the illegal Idomeni camp, which also experienced many clashes as boarder police prevented migrants from coming through.

    ​Reports of children being sexually abused in Greek refugee camps have also been heard by Anna Chiara Nava of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) in Thessaloniki.

    "It's really hard for the unaccompanied minors — 16- and 17-years-olds — to survive. It's the survival of the fittest in there. In the evening and night, it's impossible to find them because they are hiding in the tents."

    ​This is not the first time that reports of sexual abuse against refugees have risen to the surface, in was only in May of this year, a shocking revelation emerged concerning sexual abuse at a migrant facility in southeast Turkey, where a cleaner at the Nazip refugee camp received a 108-year prison sentence for sexually abusing over two dozen Syrian refugee boys, aged 8 to 12. 

    There has also been huge concern expressed over young children who have arrived on EU shores unaccompanied, many of them have gone missing and most charities, as well as leading experts fear they have been trafficked or worse still, killed.

    These new revelations come shortly after detainees in Libya complained about abuse from detention center staff and it was only last week, that Australia faced allegations of staff at a detention center in Nauru abusing detainees. 

    ​With Europe facing its worst refugee crisis for decades and reports of sexual abuse of young children at camps on the rise, the question on a lot of people's minds is — what is the EU actually doing about trying to prevent this from taking place, whilst bringing the perpetrators to justice?

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    Tags:
    migrant crisis, migrant camp, refugees, sexual assault, child abuse, children, young girls, camp, sexual abuse, United National Antiwar Coalition, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Turkey, Greece, Europe
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