THREE asylum seeking children have gone missing from care in Thurrock, it has been revealed.
In line with other councils, the borough takes a share of children who arrive in the UK.
A report revealed Thurrock currently has 28 children – but an additional three are missing.
Youngsters come from countries, including Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Sudan and Syria.
They are mostly male and aged between 15 and 17. Due to a lack of foster carers in the borough some have to be placed outside the borough.
Some are placed in supported accommodation outside the borough, at a cost of between £800 and £1,000 a week, for which the council receives Government funding.
With a number of ports as entry points Thurrock is adept at dealing with such children.
Barry Johnson, councillor responsible for education and children’s social care, said: “It’s not so much of a problem for us because we have been running this for as long as I can remember.
“Fostering is always a big problem and we do sometimes have to go outside the borough. Sometimes this is for the child’s safety.
“It has to be a well-oiled mechanism because we have up to four ports so we could otherwise be seriously over-run. When children do go missing we try very hard to find them. Sometimes they are found by police forces elsewhere and returned.”
Mr Johnson added: “All of these children are so traumatised when they arrive.
“We have a duty of care to look after them and we take that very seriously.”
The council must also do all it can to prevent youngsters falling prey to human trafficking and modern slavery.
The report to councillors said: “Human exploitation and modern slavery are alarmingly widespread issues in today’s society.
“Thousands are exploited each year for cheap or unpaid labour, sexual abuse or domestic servitude, which can have a devastating impact on physical and mental wellbeing.
“Modern Slavery is where people are controlled and become entrapped making our clothes, serving our food, picking our crops, working in factories, harvesting drugs or working in houses as cooks, cleaners or nannies.”