Sunday Jul 07, 201309:29 AM GMT
UK child migration: a scandalous history
Sun Jul 7, 2013 9:28AM
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An abusive British imperial system has been involved in export of unwanted children, mainly from orphanages and other juvenile institutions, to be tortured with crushing labor and sexually abused at a number of former British colonies.


The kids were shipped off in large numbers to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and central Africa, without the consent or even knowledge of their potential families and even themselves, for forced labor.

They were sent with the intension of stopping the children being a burden on the British state while supplying the receiving countries with potential workers and -- as a parliamentary inquiry found in 1998 - to help expand the white population in British colonies.

The Australian episode of the practice in the mid 20th century was especially painful as officials in London did what it took to populate their colony with “good white stock” to compete with locals and other Asiatic nations in a racial and religious competition.

Australia was the destination to some 10,000 children between 1947 and 1967 with Perth being a notorious torture ground.

Boys aged younger than 16 were sent to an institution north of the western city run by Catholic Christian Brothers.

Children as young as seven had to work in construction projects without adequate food or basic safety measures and many were injured at work at an age when they would have been playing if they lived an ordinary life.

The institutions behind the de facto child trafficking were officially embraced under philanthropic guises by the British and Australian governments and established organizations, many of them religious charities.

It is also estimated that tens of thousands of children were sent to suffer similar fates in New Zealand, Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe) and Canada from the late 19th century well into the 1960’s until the practice was exposed and stopped in 1967after exposure by a socialist worker.

The so-called emigration schemes were launched in the 19th century claiming to offer children in orphanages better chances abroad.

The schemes, however, were driven by a combination of economic, colonial and racial motives, and Canada was the key destination until the 1930’s.

The children served as a boost to the white infusion of the population against Indians in Canada and indigenous population in New Zealand while the religious charities used the forced recruits to gain some income from the public subsidies provided to the schemes.

In New Zealand, children were often placed with foster parents without legal procedures while in Canada they were sent to farms or to home labor, as befitted their gender.

The brutality of the so-called foster parents or institutions was such that some Canadian farmers were even charged with manslaughter as smuggled kids were seen as a source of cheap unaccounted-for labor.

After Canadian government halted the deliveries of children in 1930, deliveries were launched to Australia, New Zealand and other destinations.

There were in all around 150,000 children who were forced out of Britain under the schemes over the 20th century.

The British government, whose top authorities were directly in charge of the shameful measures, has never led a large-scale public inquiry into the abuses.

The mistreatment was only acknowledged in February 2010 when the then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a public apology to former child migrants on behalf of Britain.

AMR/HE
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