Migrant children as young as ten are being forced to sleep at police stations in northern Spain, officers have warned, as record arrivals across the Mediterranean overwhelm reception centres.
The Mossos d’Esquadra, the Catalan police force, has called for “urgent” intervention after saturated facilities turned away minors arriving this week, leaving them with nowhere to go.
Images published by local media showed boys sleeping on floors and benches in one Barcelona police station, a situation repeated in others across the city and elsewhere in Catalonia.
Officers said they had been forced to turn station waiting rooms into makeshift dormitories as an emergency measure. The alternative, one explained to the Barcelona-based newspaper La Vanguardia, would have been “leaving children helpless in the middle of the street”.
Spain has been experiencing record numbers of migrant arrivals in recent months, having surpassed Italy earlier this year as the largest gateway for those crossing the Mediterranean to Europe.