Historic child migrant abuse ‘worse than Savile scandal’, says Gordon Brown
Historic abuse suffered by children deported from the UK to former colonies could be “worse than the Savile scandal”, Gordon Brown has said.
The Child Migrant programme ran from 1920 to 1974 and saw some 130,000 people sent to Commonwealth countries.
Many experienced sexual, emotional and physical abuse by those charged with caring for them.
When he was prime minister in 2010, Mr Brown apologised on behalf of the UK Government for the “misguided” programme and announced a £6m fund family reunification for the former child migrants.
The public inquiry into historic abuse is looking into the fate of the children, and Mr Brown gave evidence earlier today.
“The sheer scale of sexual abuse of British-born girls and boys could be worse than in the Savile scandal and further children's homes outrages we are aware of,” he said.
The scheme amounted to “government-enforced trafficking” and was a “violation of human rights”, he added.
The former Prime Minister also called for a government minister to speak before the committee to explain why no action has been taken since his apology in 2010 and urged the inquiry to compensate the living 2,000 former child migrants.
He said: “Children were denied a childhood, an identity, a family and any sense of belonging. That violation of human rights led to the 2010 apology I made on behalf of the UK.
“An unknown but clearly large number of these children were subjected to horrific assaults sometimes before, sometimes during, but in the main after they left the UK.
“Because successive governments failed in what I call their duty of care these 2,000 surviving migrants all need and deserve redress.
“And a serving Cabinet minister needs to explain why governments, since 2010, have failed to act on the horrifying new evidence we now have.”
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