Wednesday, February 24, 2010

UK Apologizes Over Former Child Migration Policy and Announces Establishment of Fund to Help Trace Families

"UK apologizes over 'shameful' child migration program"
February 24, 2010

"British Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologized on behalf of the UK government Wednesday over a controversial child migration policy which saw thousands of children separated from their families and sent to Australia and other Commonwealth countries.

The so-called 'Forgotten Australians' were British children brought up by impoverished families or living in care homes who were shipped to Australia with the promise of a better life.

But many ended up in institutions and orphanages, suffering abuse and forced labor. They later told of being kept in brutal conditions, being physically abused and being forced to work on farms. Many were wrongly told they were orphans, with brothers and sisters separated at dock side and sent to different parts of the country...

Brown also announced the establishment of a £6 million ($9.2 million) fund to help former child migrants trace their families.

Around 7,000 children between the ages of three and 14 were sent to Australia between the end of World War II and 1967 when the child migration program was abolished. Another 1,200 are estimated to have been sent to New Zealand, Canada and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Many young people over the age of 15 were also sent away."

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