Original article from Kent Live
Heartbreaking photos of babies arriving in Kent in dingys have emerged, highlighting the horror of the refugee crisis.
New photos show desperate families with young children in their arms having made the treacherous journey to the Kent coast.
'Extremely vulnerable' children – even babies – are at risk of death as record numbers of crossings have been recorded.
And campaigners say these photos debunk the myth that it is just young men taking the perilous route.
The truth is the refugee crisis is forcing families with children of all ages to take the life-threatening risk.
A total of 8,410 men, women and children successfully made the dangerous 21 mile (34km) crossing from Europe to the UK coast last year.
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And the figure continues to rise.
On Monday (July 19), a record 430 people arrived on 14 boats, taking this year’s total of desperate refugees to 8,159.
Bridget Chapman, a spokesperson for the Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN), said that children were putting their lives at risk when making their way to the Kent coast.
She said: "I would say that about 10% of people that arrive are unaccompanied children.
"They are extremely vulnerable, there is no one that I have worked with that hasn't suffered from a degree of trauma.
"This often stems from their home country, but the journeys they make to come over are really dangerous."
The 50-year-old said she'd heard countless heartbreaking stories from people who had made the crossing.
'They thought they were going to die'
She said: "The young people who have talked to me about making that journey in a boat say they were terrified and they thought they were going to die.
"I have worked with children around the ages of 11 and 12 who have arrived unaccompanied, but there have also been people arriving who were much, much younger than that and have gone straight into foster care."
The latest heartbreaking images just put into perspective the reality of the refugee crisis, however there are some misconceptions around this.
Many people believe that it is mostly young men arriving, however Ms Chapman debunks this myth.
"It is true that we do see a lot of young men arriving, but there's a good reason for this," she added.
'Around half are women and children'
"The young men are being targeted by groups such as the Taliban for example, which is why they make the journey over to the UK to escape conflict.
"However, about half of the people that arrive are women and children.
"I have witnessed many children being told by Home Office officials that they are adults, and obviously that has many safeguarding implications.
"This makes it very dangerous for people to repeat this myth, as many of these people are in fact children."
The main reasons behind people arriving in the UK is to avoid conflict or persecution.
Many young people are currently fleeing the escalating conflict in Sudan.
Speaking on the work that KRAN does to help refugees, Ms Chapman said: "We work in three main ways.
"We have an education project to get young people into statutory education at the earliest opportunity.
"There is also a mentoring project which is key, where we pair adults in the community with these young people to help support them.
"Finally, we have a project where people can book appointments and raise any problems that they may have."
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