The Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations has offered two centers in Gran Canaria to welcome migrant children and their mothers during the procedures to verify their affiliation, with the aim of avoiding the separation of these families produced on the island after their arrival to the islands in patera. While the Canary Islands Prosecutor’s Office continues to “evaluate” the decision of the Las Palmas prosecutor to remove eleven minors from their parents, the Secretary of State for Migration has contacted the Ministry of Social Rights, very critical of this practice, to offer the availability of state places for this purpose.
Both centers, located in Gran Canaria, have a total of 90 places and are part of the Humanitarian Attention system and “may be available for families with their sons and daughters,” according to sources from the Secretary of State for Migration. Both facilities have “a specialized intervention team that accompanies the people received” and “maintains close contact with all of them.” As they highlight, these centers are created to create “a space of trust so that the sheltered people can express” any need that requires help “, which facilitates the teams” to detect situations of special vulnerability “, such as the identification of victims of trafficking.
The Las Palmas Prosecutor’s Office defends that separating mothers from their children is a “precautionary measure” applied as a result of past events, in which people were found who used children to get roots in the Canary Islands or to take them to Europe to traffic minors. “If the minor cannot say that he is his mother, they proceed to separation. DNA samples are taken and a visiting regime is established, which with the pandemic caused by COVID-19 has become more restricted,” he defends .
However, the measures for the prevention of trafficking in human beings and against the use of minors, included in the Framework Protocol for Unaccompanied Minors, do not set this pattern, as it only contemplates separation in exceptional cases, when a “risk is perceived imminent for the minor “. The superior prosecutor of the Canary Islands, Luis del Río, is reviewing the interpretation of the protocol made by the prosecutor of Las Palmas. “We are studying why it is done in Las Palmas and if this is the most appropriate. The test takes time, and if they really are mother and son, this separation for so long can be counterproductive,” he emphasizes.
The Caminando Fronteras collective explains that this practice, which was common in Andalusia, produces “a lot of pain” for both mothers and children and represents a “violation of the right to family and childhood” due to the fact of being a black woman and arrive by boat.