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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - LONDON: Senior politicians in the UK have called for urgent action to bring British Daesh brides and their children home from Kurdish detention camps over concerns they are trafficking victims.
Conservative members of parliament and former cabinet ministers Andrew Mitchell and David Davis were joined by Commons committee chairmen Tom Tugendhat and Tobias Ellwood in campaigning for the return of women and children held in prison camps in north-eastern Syria, The Times reported.
It is estimated there are around 3,000 foreign prisoners in the camps, 40 to 80 of whom are British with the “vast majority” being women and young children, the report quoted the MPs as saying.
“We are concerned that their current indefinite detention in increasingly precarious Kurdish detention camps poses a significant security challenge to the UK, as well as significant harm to the children involved,” they wrote in a letter to the UK’s attorney-general, foreign secretary and home secretary, which has been seen by The Times.
“We urge you to ensure that these individuals are brought back to the UK so that any adults accused of crimes can be fairly prosecuted with due process, and the children’s safety is ensured,” it added.
The politicians quoted information compiled by the human rights and legal action charity Reprieve, which they say points to the detained British women not having traveled to Syria through choice.
The Reprieve report said there were cases of girls as young as 12-years-old being trafficked to Syria, 14-year-olds being forced to marry Daesh fighters and instances of vulnerable Muslim girls being targeted by predators on dating websites.
The Conservative politicians said that while the women in question may have criminal charges to answer, their status as victims of human trafficking and gender-based violence complicates the situation and should be dealt with by British authorities.
The UK government has to date blocked the return from Syria of Daesh brides and any children they bore with the group’s militants over national security concerns.
However, earlier this month, the British Court of Appeal ruled that Shamima Begum, 21, who fled the UK as a schoolgirl to marry a Daesh militant in Raqqa, should be allowed to return to challenge the removal of her UK citizenship.
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