Girls who are pregnant after being raped have been put up in hotels after arriving in the UK rather than taken into care.

The Children’s Commissioner is demanding the Home Office stop accommodating young asylum seekers who come alone in hotels.

Data obtained by her shows that a horrifying number of children experienced rape, torture or organ harvesting on or before their journey to this country. In total, 5,298 children were housed in Home Office run hotels between July 2021 and May 2023.

However, officials failed to record notes on whether 62% of the children had vulnerabilities. Of the children there was information about, nearly 200 were victims of beatings or assault, 34 were victims of torture, and 25 were victims of rape or sexual assault. The data also records 259 cases of infectious diseases, including scabies, tuberculosis, diphtheria, and monkey pox.

The vast majority of children were boys, but there were 169 girls accommodated in hotels. Data was recorded about half of these, which showed 10% had been victims of rape, sexual assault or sexual exploitation on their journeys to the UK. According to the Children’s Commissioner there is evidence pregnant girls were housed in hotels, including some who had been raped.

A total of 442 children went missing from eight hotels run by the Home Office, including those as young as 12. No date of return was recorded for 166 of these. Despite concerns that children who go missing are often exploited by traffickers, only 17% of cases were reported to the police through the National Referral Mechanism.

Children’s Commissioner for England Dame Rachel de Souza said: “Our first response must be one of love and compassion. These children have faced rape, torture, and even been subject to organ harvesting. As soon as they arrive, they must be brought into care, and given not only the immediate healthcare attention they need, but the stability and security that will allow them to recover and thrive.

“I want to see children taken into the care of local authority from the moment they arrive and for local authorities to be given the funding they need to provide the medical and psychological help the young people need, and a safe and stable home that can provide them with consistent love and care.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Our priority is to stop the boats as an unacceptable number of children and minors are risking their lives and safety by making these dangerous crossings. We have safeguarding procedures in place to ensure all unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in hotels are as safe and supported as possible as we seek urgent placements with a local authority.”