A group of eight Afghans turn round the corner of the boulevard. The oldest might be eighteen years old, the others look fifteen or less, hard to say, the road shapes the body and chisels prematurely the faces.
Among the exiles who arrive in Calais, or who come back after the destruction of the shantytown, minors are lots. The police controls them and doesn’t know exactly what to do with them. Sometimes one ends up at the detention center, to be released by the judge, as every minor is in regular situation on the French territory. Sometimes the police contacts the Children’s Social Assistance, who doesn’t really appreciates and encourages the police to do a facial sorting between “true” and “false” minors, in complete illegality. France Terre d’Asile, charged by the department of the reception of foreigners minors, is often nowhere to be seen, no more places avaiable, not enough people to search for the minors.
In short, it is thanks to the solidarity of the association and the people living in Calais if many minors aren’t sleeping in the streets. But it is impossible to reach everyone when everyone is hiding, and, also, many of them try to cross overnight.
Therefore some are sleeping around the daily center of the Secours Catholique, located at the end of the city – this position out of the centre was required by the municipality to cease its legal guerilla against the opening of a Day Centre for the exiles . And among those who sleep there the majority are minor.
As the land is municipal, the municipality files a complaint against the “squatters”. Act to show that it is not good to be on the streets in Calais, especially when one is minor.
The penal colony for children of Belle-Île, whose revolt in 1934 had inspired the poem of Prévert “La Chasse aux enfants”. A hunt had been organized to catch the children evaded but stranded in the island, with a prize for each child caught.