Aussies Sorry for 10K Kids Shipped for 'Slave Labor'

British children were abused, kept hungry in program lasting until 1960s
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2009 6:20 AM CDT
Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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(Newser) – The Australian prime minister will apologize to generations of British migrants shipped to Australia as children and subjected to abuse, hunger, and slave labor. Between the 1920s and 1960s the UK sent about 10,000 children to provide Australia with "good white stock," but when they arrived they were put to work in state and religious institutions. "Often we were called by a number, not even a name. It's a shameful part of Australia's history," said one victim.

Most of the British children shipped to Australia were told they were orphans, but in fact they were taken from their mothers as illegitimate babies—and often their parents did not know they were shipped away. The move to recognize their abuse comes after a series of inquiries. In 2004, the country's senate reported "a litany of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse" in Australian institutions.