Imagine if our children were going missing in Scotland. Hundreds of them, disappearing without trace into thin air. It sounds like a nightmare. It sounds like the plot of a high-concept, dystopian HBO show. It sounds like it could never happen in our so-called "developed" country but in fact, this has been happening in the UK and still is now.

Over the last few months it was revealed that almost 200 children seeking asylum, many of whom were without parents or guardians, had disappeared after being placed in hotels by the Home Office. There are theories about where they have gone but not yet any answers, though many fear trafficking and grooming by criminal gangs. The NGO Article 39 recently reported that "4,600 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children have been placed in hotels, 440 missing episodes have been recorded". By "episodes" they mean children.

Perhaps I’ve had more sleepless nights over this than some because I have been an institutionalised child who trusted the state to protect me. I was taken into care as a toddler. I read my weighty, heavily-redacted social work documentation in my adulthood sitting, bizarrely, in a very comfortable house during a writer's residency in Latvia. I learned I was passed from person to person, distant family member, to friend of friend, until social services finally tracked me down.

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My little boy is almost the same age now as I was then and I never let him leave my sight for a moment. In fact, recently my heart almost stopped when I turned my back on him to throw a coffee cup away in Starbucks and got distracted by a telephone call. It was no more than a few seconds but it might as well have been two weeks because it’s simply a parent's instinct to panic when her child is out of eyeline. But these children have no one keeping them close and in sight. They are depending on the Home Office to have that instinct of watchfulness and protectiveness.

The reason I'm asking you to imagine this happening in Scotland is because I don't think, or perhaps I don't want to believe, that it could ever happen here.

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I remember the exact moment that I decided that if I was going to return from Prague back to the UK, it would be home to Scotland. I was watching the Kenmure Street protests online. A whole community came out in support of two Sikh men, Lakhvir Singh and Sumit Sehdev, who were threatened with deportation. A whole neighbourhood standing literally shoulder to shoulder, absolutely united in their belief in doing what is right.

I left Scotland, I believed for good, 27 years ago. For good and good riddance to it is what I thought as I waved Coatbridge goodbye in the rearview mirror. The life I left was not one that I ever wanted to return to, plagued as it was by poverty, casual violence and my wee sister finding used syringes in our back garden. Good riddance to schools that never noticed if you didn't turn up for a whole term and were instead sitting on a stained mattress at a dubious older man's council house, smoking a lot of dope you’d bought on tick from a fat man with an Alsatian.

So I can assure you that I never assumed that I would want to come back here, let alone that I would bring my precious little boy home. But when it was time for us to come back to the UK it was our greatest hope that we would live in Glasgow where I’d witnessed such a show of solidarity for refugees.

The Herald: The stand-off between protestors and police guarding the van sent by the Home Office The stand-off between protestors and police guarding the van sent by the Home Office (Image: PA)

Last year I took my little boy to support the Kenmure protesters during their court case. It’s true he was much more interested in the PomBears we had brought along as a bribe and singing Hickory Dickory Dock but for me it was a thank you to a country that’s welcomed us and so many people with open arms. Going there was my way of saying "Scotland is a country that I'm proud to bring my son up in" This is a Scotland that I believe would do better if children were disappearing off its streets. Indeed, I believe we would have ensured this never happened at all by putting all children, as they should be, with foster parents or in care homes with staff trained to look after young people.

Is the Scottish system for refugees and asylum seekers perfect? Absolutely not. But in Scotland I see a willingness you would never witness from Westminster to embrace strangers who’ll become our neighbours and citizens. There is the brilliant charity Refuweegie, which has provided more than 10,000 community-built, personal welcome packs and emergency support packs to people all over Glasgow and across Scotland. And the New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy, which was set up to help incomers settle, designed with input from over 700 people from refugee and asylum-seeking communities. In today’s Scotland I see a country that matches my values and ones I hope my son will adopt.

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Perhaps nothing is more emblematic of this new Scotland than our new First Minister Humza Yousaf. We now have a First Minister who said: "We should all take pride in the fact that today we have sent a clear message, that your colour of skin, your faith, is not a barrier to leading the country we all call home. From the Punjab to our Parliament, this is a journey over generations that reminds us that we should celebrate migrants who contribute so much to our country."

I'm so grateful that my boy can grow up in this country. I'm so glad he has me watching over him and I’ll remain heartbroken and sleepless for those children in Brighton & Hove who should have a guardian looking out for them, feeling like a second is a week without knowing they’re safe.