- About Us
- CMT Timeline
The Child Migrants Trust was founded in 1987 by its Director, Margaret Humphreys CBE, OAM, to address the devastating impact of British child migration schemes.
In 1986 Margaret Humphreys, a Nottinghamshire Social Worker, received a letter from a woman who claimed that at the age of four she was shipped to a Children's Home in Australia, and now wanted help to find her parents or relatives in Britain.
Gradually, the enormity of child migration was exposed. Incredibly over 130,000 children had been deported from Britain and shipped off to a "new life" originally to distant parts of the Empire and, more recently, across the Commonwealth. This long history of forced migration ended in 1970.
Children as young as three years old had been separated from all that was familiar and shipped to Orphanages, Farm Schools and other institutions. Many were treated as slave labour and denied even a basic education. Most were told that they were orphans whose parents were dead - the most cruel deception of all. Some experienced degrading abuse throughout their childhood. Parents, too, were deceived about the fate of their children and often told that they had been adopted in Britain.
CMT tries to give former Child Migrants vital, basic rights which most of us take for granted - a knowledge of their family background, a full birth certificate, clarity about their citizenship status and the opportunity to reunite with their family.
Many need skilled help to cope with a childhood of profound loss in cold, harsh institutions. These failed to meet even minimum standards of care for exquisitely vulnerable children. Similarly, reuniting with family members after decades of separation requires sensitive preparation to avoid an awkward encounter between strangers and achieve positive results for all concerned.
The Trust campaigns to raise public awareness of the long-term impact of child migration schemes for former Child Migrants overseas and their families in Britain.