BBC News | UK | Child migration: MPs demand action

A House of Commons committee has delivered a scathing report on the policy of child migration and called for immediate action to help its victims find their surviving relatives in the UK.
Under the policy, which only ended in 1967, thousands of children were sent with government approval by church organisations and charities to Commonwealth countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
The children were classed as orphans but most of them were not. They came mainly from poor families or were born to unmarried mothers.
Once abroad, they were frequently used as cheap labour or became the victims of physical or sexual abuse.
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BBC News | UK | Child migrants deserve help tracing roots

The Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, has said child migrants deserve practical aid in tracing their family records in the UK.

He said he would consider giving an official apology to child migrants, many of whom suffered horrific treatment after being sent out for adoption in former British colonies like Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

However, Mr Dobson stopped short of promising them financial aid if their efforts to trace lost family members brought them back to the UK.

Mr Dobson told the Commons Health Select Committee, which is conducting an investigation into child migration: "I find it quite extraordinary that when we were watching England winning the World Cup in 1966, some child was being kidnapped and sent to Australia.

"It beggars belief. Even if it was done with the best will in the world ... even if everything once the child had arrived in the recipient country had gone right, it seems to me that what was done was wrong."

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BBC News | World: Asia-Pacific | Australian child migrant scheme condemned as abuse of power

A delegation of British politicians -- in Australia to investigate claims for compensation for child migrants -- has said the children were victims of an unforgiveable abuse of power.

More than seven-thousand British children were sent to Australia in a scheme that began just before the Second World War and lasted until the nineteen-sixties.

Most came from institutions like orphanages and were told, often falsely, they had no relatives.

They were mainly illegitimate, from poor families or broken marriages.

One of the British MPs, Audrey Wise, said the migration scheme was a conscious attempt to boost Australia's white population; it was, she said, heart-breaking.

The delegation will report to a British parliamentary committee about whether compensation should be paid and an official apology made.

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BBC News | World: Asia-Pacific | Deported children seek justice

Theresa Whitfield was eight years old when she left Britain to begin a new life in Australia. She is now an adult, and hoping for compensation for the childhood she says was stolen from her.

She was one of thousands of British children who were deported to Australia by British charities after the Second World War, often under false pretences and without their parents knowing.
Many were abused, neglected or used as cheap labour by the Roman Catholic nuns to whom they were entrusted.

Some of their stories are now being heard by a delegation of British MPs who have travelled to Australia to investigate how the British government can help the deportees.

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BBC News | UK | Children's agencies deny child migration cover up

Voluntary children's organisations including the Catholic Child Agency, the Salvation Army and Barnardos are denying charges from MPs that they deliberately covered up many aspects of their handling of child migration.
The charities stand accused of classifying many of the children sent to Australia, Canada and New Zealand as orphans, although the majority were not.

Other children were sent overseas without the knowledge of parents or relatives, and were later denied details of their families.

Over 100,000 children were sent to the colonies during the 100 years child migration lasted and it only came to a halt as recently as 1967.

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BBC News | UK | The children Britain did not want

Thirty years after Britain stopped sending its children overseas to other commonwealth countries, an investigation gets underway into the practice. It follows a legal battle by what became known as the 'child migrants'.

More than 130,000 children were 'exported', over a period of more than 100 years. The practice was only stopped in 1967. Many of those who were migrants themselves say it had a devastating effect on their lives.

A Health Committee inquiry, which opens on Wednesday, is to hear evidence from people who, as children, were deported to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the former Rhodesia.

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