Is it ever moral for a country to have child spies?
Many children have a wish to grow up to be a secret agent. But a sensational new report has shone a light on the use of child spies in the United Kingdom.
Why does this report exist?
The Home Office attempted to extend the time a child an be used as an intelligence source from one to four months. When the order came through the House of Lords, the house asked for more information and wrote a report on it.
What are child spies used for?
They are used in covert operations. These operations are against gangs, drug dealers and even terrorist organisations. They would be selected to collect details of illegal activity.
Why child spies?
The idea behind having children as spies is that they attract less suspicion. A spokesperson for Theresa May gave the example of preventing gang violence as when a child would be used. This could include attempts to stop county lines drug dealing, where children are used to carry drugs across the UK. The spokesperson has claimed child spies are only used when ‘very necessary and proportionate.’
What does the report criticise?
There is currently no data on just how many child spies have been used in the UK. The Home Office claim that the child’s the risk of getting psychological distress or physical injury is evaluated before they become a spy. However, there is no indication how they assess this.
What will happen with child spies now?
The House of Lords has prevented the order to extend the timeframe they can work from going further without more information. Regardless, the government can legally still use child spies. There seems to be no evidence of their useful properties. After all, how reliable is a small child to relay detailed information? More importantly, is it truly moral to put these children under that pressure? Into that danger? Can you imagine your child being used as a spy for the government?