SWAN Statement Regarding Use of Children As Spies: Call For An Immediate Cessation

SWAN was appalled to learn of the coercion of children in the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) programme concerning terrorism, child sexual exploitation and gangs involved in drug dealing (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jul/20/child-spies-used-only-when-very-necessary-says-downing-street).

SWAN is fundamentally opposed to the use of children in state espionage. It cannot be countenanced that the State should use children in such an institutionally abusive manner. One child spy is too many, yet we hear the Home Office suggesting that not only is such a scheme in operation but there is increasing scope for its activities with a proposed loosening of the restrictions surrounding it.

Social Work is a human rights based profession prescribed by the State, that another State organisation should be putting vulnerable children in such dangerous situations knowingly and deliberately gives them no moral superiority over the criminal organisations they seek to stop. Children are given a Hobson’s choice of custody or returning to exploitative and abusive situations. 

We call for the immediate end to such operations and for support to be provided to the survivors of this scheme. 

This is a time when ironically, British moral outrage is directed at the US government’s separation of children from their parents’. This recent revelation supports the view that the Home Office have been aiming to create a situation of fear and surveillance via Prevent within the Muslim community and that this policy furthers that oppression, and divides communities.

To oppose the use of child spies please sign this petition https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/225416 

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We want to develop a network of service users, practicitioners, academics and students to support radical and progressive social work. We need a social work that is ready to challenge oppressive practice, that means working collectively across the country and internationally to advance Social Work.