The loudest scandal in the recent history of the West began with the fact that in 1986, Margaret Humphreys, a social worker from Nottingham, received a letter from Australia - from a woman who asked to find her parents. She had few clues. All she remembered was that in her early childhood she was torn from her family and taken from England to Australia.
At first, Margaret did not believe in the history of this woman. But she herself was the mother of two children, and she was well aware of the pain the child, separated from the family, feels. Margaret began her search ... As a result of her investigation, publicity was exposed to shocking facts of "forced migration" of children - a shameful system of the shameful deportation system in the colony of its own young people, whose crime to their country was that they were born in poor families.
These facts formed the basis of the famous book Margaret Humphries - "Empty Cradles" (1994).
It turned out that an unprecedented "youth policy" existed in England for several centuries. The initiative was laid in 1618 year, when the first hundred children were taken to Virginia. Following them went to others, mainly from Scotland. At that time, children were often bought from their parents or abducted to provide cheap labor to New England farms across the ocean. Only in the 1757 year, the trial put an end to these disgraces. However, not for long.
In the second half of the XIX century, widespread excitement of the poorest sections of the population forced the British government to fork out for "social policy". Various philanthropic societies and churches (Anglicans, Evangelists, etc.) joined the cause. Initially, children's shelters were built in England itself. However, it quickly became clear that keeping children in remote overseas colonies is much cheaper.
The children's "migration" was set on a broad scale by the efforts of three women: the plague-evangelist Annie MacPherson, her sisters Louise Burt and the native of London, Maria Rai. Their efforts in Canada in the 1860-1870-ies. more than 20 000 children were relocated. At first they were orphans, but then the "migration" program spread to children from large families of poor people. As it turned out later, the parents in most cases had no idea about the fate of their children after those sent to children's institutions, and sometimes were convinced that they were adopted. The children in the shelters, in turn, were assured that their parents had died, and a better life was waiting for them across the ocean.
Soon rumors spread that these children were subjected to ill treatment. In 1874, the London Board of Trustees sent a commission to Andrew Doyle to inspect Canadian children's homes. His report read: "Through the fault of Miss Rye's irresponsibility and the lack of resources of Miss Macpherson, thousands of British children, already already in a difficult situation, are thrown to settlers to the mercy of fate, hard work or ill-treatment; The settlers are usually honest, but often extremely strict. "
The House of Commons of Canada created a special committee to verify Doyle's conclusions, but this did not affect the fate of the children. In April 1891, the British "The Star" wrote: "The attention of the Dominion government was drawn to the fact that children sent from England to Canada are street vagabonds and poor people from workplaces, as well as to the fact that the professional philanthropists involved in this type of activity, often guided by mercantile, not charitable motives. The parliament will be asked to investigate this situation before providing any money for the purpose of immigration. "
The request was submitted. As a result, in the same 1891, the Child Care Act was enacted, completely legalizing the work of private societies engaged in children's resettlement in dominions.
In the twentieth century. the geography of children's "migration" has significantly expanded. Children were taken to Canada, Africa, but Australia and New Zealand were very popular now. Most of the young colonists were from 7 to 10 years; but among them came four-year-olds, as well as 14-year-olds.
4-year-old traveler Stuart Lee
Before leaving, they promised the golden mountains, oranges and sunshine, told stories about the promised land, where they would live carefree, go to school on horseback, tearing sweet fruits from growing on the side of the trees ... In fact, on the new no one expected their place. Despite the fact that quite decent organizations - all kinds of Catholic missions and trustees' councils were engaged in resettlement, at the core of their activities lay glaring iniquity. Citizens of Great Britain turned into disenfranchised ghosts. Nobody cared about giving them an identity card. Often during the move, brothers and sisters were separated, communication with parents was interrupted for ever. Sometimes it happened that the children were immediately put in the back of a truck on arrival and taken to a remote place on a plantation where they were turned into laborers.
Children collect peas in the fields
However, those who got into Catholic shelters could not boast of a better fate. The conditions of keeping children in such institutions were simply blatant. The educational program was not much different from the programs for the mentally retarded, the pupils were beaten, sent to hard work, raped. According to one of them, the children called their religious guardians "Christian pederasts".
The results of Catholic shelters in Australia Satan applauded standing - thousands of maimed fates, hundreds of disabled people, dozens of suicides.
The program of children's "migration" stopped during the Great Depression, and again resumed after the end of World War II. Separate cases of the export of children from England took place at the end of 1960-early 1970-ies. In the post-war period, about 10 thousand children were taken from England (7 thousand to Australia). In total, according to the report of the fund for child migration of the Canadian House of Commons, for 350 years (from 1618 years) from England about 150 000 children were sent to the colony.
Children are building a school. There is not even a hint of safety
When Margaret Humphries managed to disclose these facts, she went to Australia, where she began to search for these poor children, who by that time had already grown up. To this end, she founded a special organization Child Migrants Trust, through which thousands of people regained their parents.
Diary of 12-year-old Maureen Mullins
Finally, the scheme for children's "migration" was disclosed only in 1998, thanks to a parliamentary inquiry from the UK. The published report separately condemned the Roman Catholic Congregation of Christian Brothers of Western Australia and Queensland, in institutions where children reportedly suffered violence. The Legislative Assembly of Western Australia 13 August 1998 issued a statement in which it apologized to former migrant children
Under the pressure of public outrage, the Australian government was forced to admit its guilt. 16 November 2009, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who a year earlier publicly on behalf of the Australian government asked forgiveness of the children "stolen generation", that is, the Australian aborigines, turned his attention to the "children's migrants." Apology was read out in the Australian Parliament, in the presence of Margaret Humphries.
But the reaction of the Canadian Minister for Immigration Jason Kenny was completely different. On behalf of his government, he 17 November 2009 said: "Canada does not need to apologize for the ill-treatment and exploitation of thousands of poor children sent here from Britain since the XIX century ... here it was not the agenda, unlike the long-term interest in Australia . Life is such that we in Canada are taking measures to recognize those sad times, but it seems to me that very few people are waiting for official apologies for what, unfortunately, was ever a tragic history of the country. "
The Canadian Post issued a commemorative stamp ...
Pope Benedict XVI told the world about "the torment caused by the deplorable behavior of some members of the church", and expressed his "sympathy and pious solidarity" to the victims of injustice.
As for England, when the prolonged silence of the government became already indecent, Prime Minister Gordon Brown 23 February 2010 expressed his formal apology for the "shameful" program for the resettlement of children and announced the creation of a fund of 6 million pounds to pay compensation to "deceived" families.