Trans migrant slept on hotel staircase out of fear after Home Office ‘cram’ policy

Trans migrant

A trans migrant was forced to sleep on the staircase of a hotel because he was afraid for his safety, after the Home Office sought to cram people together in small rooms to save costs.

Dubbed Operation Maximise by immigration minister Robert Jennrick, the scheme aims to save the government £250 million from the cost of housing migrants by forcing multiple people to share rooms. 

However, an investigation by The Guardian has revealed this approach is putting vulnerable LGBTQ+ migrants at further risk of abuse. 

The newspaper’s investigation found a gay man was afraid to get undressed in the shared room because of the amount of homophobic abuse he received, a lesbian was having to hide her true self and a trans man had to sleep on a staircase because he was afraid for his safety. 

The unnamed trans man had been attacked and raped in his country of origin and was made to room share upon his arrival to the UK, waiting up in the middle of the night to find the men he was sharing with taking off his clothes. 

“The hotel staff blocked my room card [as he refused to stay in the room], they said I had to share,” he said. “I could not do it. I slept outside the room on the stairs and cried all night. 

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“It was the worst night of my life since I arrived in the UK.”

Policy causing ‘physical and mental harm to vulnerable people’

Speaking with The Guardian, the anonymous lesbian also said: “I will have to hide my identity in my own room. So many of us are dealing with mental health issues and trying to overcome trauma, but the letter I signed said I do not have the right to object to room sharing.”

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The policy of maximising the space used in hotels is seeing “traumatised people crammed together”, said Emma Birks of Asylum Matters. 

Birks added: “We are seeing them create conditions that cause physical and mental harm to vulnerable people who are seeking safety here in the UK.

“People should be accommodated in communities where they can be welcomed – not warehoused in hotels.”

In response to the claims raised by The Guardian, a Home Office spokesperson said: “To reduce hotel use, asylum seekers will routinely share rooms with at least one person where appropriate. This minimises the impact on communities while we stand up alternative sites.”

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