7.57 pm – 09 June 2014 – Column 207 – Hansard Publications
Lord James of Blackheath (Con): My Lords, I have indicated previously the impact that forced migration has had upon my family. We had in the Queen’s Speech a Bill for dealing with the abuse of children and the intention to bring forward better controls over trafficking. Those are closely connected. This country has a terrible record in its handling of the migration of its own subjects. It has combined the most appalling suffering of children with the most appalling lack of management of the migration process to get the worst of every world. There should be no smugness around these two initiatives going forward. It is a very small penance to pay for a very big crime.
It started in 1682. The first migration in this country happened when one of the early colonies in North America was raided by the Indians, who took all 84 of its children and would not give them back. No one knows what happened to them. The colony sent a communication back to England by the first available boat saying, “Look, we have no children and therefore no future. Send us some children”. The Mayor of London was asked to deal with it and he did. He sent his beadles out on to the streets of London and took the first 84 vagrant kids he could find. He sent them down to a boat at Rotherhithe and sent them to America. He told the captain that he could pay for the trip by taking the kids out and bringing it back with a load of tobacco on board and that would pay for it, and it did. Unfortunately, it created the precedent of making it seem that trafficking these children was profitable, which it was. More