Aussies 'Sorry' for Abused Children

Children forced to migrate to Australia neglected, beaten

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 16, 2009 4:20 AM CST

(Newser) – The Australian government has apologized—again—this time for abusing thousands of children forced to migrate to the nation. Some 500,000 "forgotten Australians" were abused or neglected in orphanages and children's work homes from 1930 to 1970. "We are sorry," Australian Prime Minister Devin Rudd told some 1,000 of the victims, now adults, in Canberra. "Sorry for the tragedy—the absolute tragedy—of childhoods lost."

The children, mostly poor, were shipped out of Britain to a "better life" to help build Australia, Canada and other nations as part of the Child Migrants Program. Officials lied to many of the children that their parents had died, reports the BBC. But once in Australia, many were exploited as farm workers or languished in institutions where they were neglected, beaten and sexually abused. The Australian government apologized last year to Aborigine children taken from their families.

Two women comfort each other as they attend a ceremony in Canberra, where Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd issued an apology to thousands of impoverished British children shipped to Australia.
Two women comfort each other as they attend a ceremony in Canberra, where Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd issued an apology to thousands of impoverished British children shipped to Australia.   (AP Photo/Mark Graham)
British orphans working in a garden near Parramatta, Australia, as part of the Child Migrants Porgram.
British orphans working in a garden near Parramatta, Australia, as part of the Child Migrants Porgram.   (AP Photo/National Archives of Australia)
Twin boys about to be shipped out as part of Britain's Child Migrants Program.
Twin boys about to be shipped out as part of Britain's Child Migrants Program.
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