Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Sunday, 15 November 2009

Child migrant apology 'will help'

A woman who fought for justice after Britain sent thousands of children to Australia has said apologies from both governments will help victims recover.

Margaret Humphreys, who set up the Child Migrants Trust in Notts in 1987, has travelled to Canberra to hear the Australian prime minister's apology.

About 10,000 children were sent down under from orphanages and institutions in Britain from the 1930s to 1967.

They were promised a better life but many ended up suffering terrible abuse.

This is a significant moment in the history of child migration
Margaret Humphreys

Ms Humphreys said: "The trust has campaigned for over 20 years for this kind and degree of recognition.

"For child migrants, of course, it has been all their lives and for their families. This is a significant moment in the history of child migration.

"The recognition is vital if people are to recover."

Many parents did not know their children had been sent to Australia.

Ms Humphreys has been working to reunite families since she uncovered the scandal in the 1980s.

"There were mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, families at home who had been told that their children had been placed for adoption in England," the 65-year-old said.

"In fact I've spoken to some mothers who were told their children had died, so it has been a lifetime without identity, a lifetime without family and a lifetime of deceit."

Gordon Brown is expected to issue an apology for the policy in the new year.

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