January 20, 2008
January 18, 2008
Tony Blair should not be president of Europe, two former French leaders have declared in response to the backing the former prime minister has been given by Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France. Bravo and well said.
How on earth Tony Blair could even be mentioned in the same breath as EU is beyond me. For him to be President of Europe would be an insult, not only to the children of the UK, who he has failed miserably, but the rest of Europe.
In ten years Mr Blair did absolutely nothing to change the UKs opt out status, once again believing the UK superior to all and so retaining it's special status in the fields of justice and home affairs.
We need to send Mr. Blair exactly where he has sent so many of our children and that is 'the road to nowhere' and hopefully take his friend and allie Mr Bush with him.
January 14, 2008
January 08, 2008
Over the past week I have been asking everyone I know one question. What is child trafficking? Everyone knew it was illegal, few actually knew why it was illegal and ashamed as I am to say it a few even said they weren't interested! The lack of interest rightly or wrongly mainly stemmed from the image they had of illegal trafficking.
The UK media rarely touches on the true picture of trafficking, preferring to distort the facts into acts of illegal immigration. Until recently our Government didn't accept its existence here.We care too much about children to allow it to happen here (Oh yes Mr, Minister). We hear stories now and again, stories too big to be ignored, of bodies being found in freight containers and container lorries. Immigrants being brought illegally into the country for vast sums of money, only to end up starved of oxygen and no way of identifying them. What we don't hear is the truth or the scale of it.
If I am honest I didn't have a clue about child trafficking and how it goes disguised in the UK until Feb 2000. Victoria Climbié was 8years old when she came to the media attention. malnourishment, 128 separate injuries, 'It was the worst case of deliberate harm to a child' pathologist Dr Nathaniel Carey said he had ever seen.
As the details of Victoria's short and tragic life emerged a world I didn't know existed opened up. Victoria had been born 1991 in the Ivory Coast. She was the fifth of seven children, had started school at six and showed great promise. In 1998 a visiting relative offered to take Victoria back to France with her on the promise of a good education and a better future. Victoria's parents agreed to the idea and sent her off believing their daughter would have a wonderful life. It was not uncommon for families in the Ivory Coast to send children to relatives abroad for education and financial reasons.
At the time I thought it was far fetched to be expected to believe that it was an accepted and common practice for parents to willingly and happily send a child halfway around the world to live with a distant relative. I now know different. From the late 1950's the UK saw a heavy flow of welcome immigrants from Africa and the West Indies. Enticed here with promises of a better life and jobs. The UK had it's own agenda if the truth be known. Cheap labour for the worst manual jobs. Many of the Nigerians to settle here did the unexpected and instead of the manual labour jobs they sought careers and enriched the middle class communities. Extending their fortune and chance of education and opportunities to relatives from their home land was a natural progression within families.
Of course not all stories where success stories, and the economic decline in the later 1970's brought hardship and increased exploitation. For some bringing a child relative here under the pretence of providing a better life was the meal ticket that they needed. Distance prevented the child's family from knowing the truth and far from a better life many children became nothing more than slaves, neglected and abused but a source of welfare benefits for the family.
It is not known whether Victoria's Aunt initial intentions where genuine. She was enrolled into a school in France on first leaving the Ivory Coast but what ever the initial intention things changed when she arrived in the UK with her Aunt.
Victoria was brought to the attention of Child protection and social services on numerous occasions before her death but no one ever questioned why or how she came to be in the care of her Aunt or about her family in the Ivory Coast. Victoria was not enrolled in school for most of her time here yet that also was not questioned. Victoria's life could and should have been saved. The laws put in place to protect children were ignored by every official to come into contact with Victoria. A situation like this 'should never' happen again it was said (oh yes Mr. Minister).
It is still happening here in the UK but it isn't child trafficking! it is illegal immigrants (Oh yes Mr. Minister). Once these children have passed the age to be eligible for child benefits and cannot get jobs due to lack of education and often social isolation they are discarded. Entering the country as EU citizens, no immigration record of their arrival exists and of course they have no identifying documents. It doesn't take long living on the streets to court the attention of the authorities and for a whole new nightmare to begin. Their stories are seldom believed and they are treated like criminals.
This is the UK. This is the TRUTH. Forget the cargo containers and lorries. Children who are victims of this very real and illegal trade are inside houses, behind closed doors and very much in the UK.
The Victoria Climbie inquiry can be found on this link: http://www.victoria-climbie-inquiry.org.uk/finreport/finreport.htm
Over the past two years I have been to Internet adoption sites almost daily. Adoption related forums give great insight to how adoption effects people.
It soon became clear that laws and issues surrounding adoption differ from country to country.
One thing that surprised me was how the UK was perceived.
The majority believing that the UK has no adoption problems. Well, I know from where I'm sitting there is a problem or three!
I decided to take a trip around the adoption web world with foreign eyes.
It didn't take me long to understand why the UK could be seen by some as a country that had got 'IT' right.
What has taken place in the UK is a rather clever political decoy tactic.
In plain English, a sneaky, devious, corrupt way of getting what they want just by a different method..
Looking over all the discussion forums, when it comes to the UK, the majority of disgruntled adoptees who post are pre 1975 adoptees.
The reason for this is simple. When adoptees where granted access to birth records in 1976 the law differed for anyone adopted prior to 1975.
Instead of automatic access to records the pre 75 adoptees could only have access to records after counselling and through a social worker.
The information we received was decided by the social worker. Many adoptees found that their records had either been 'misplaced' or so much had been blanked out that they were not worth having.
From 1976 the access to records meant adoptions and procedures had to be more concise (wouldn't want anyone thinking something untoward had happened).
This also meant for the adoptees from 1976 onwards they didnt have the problem of finding their identity (on paper), so no grumbling on forum boards.
In the late 70's Politics seemed to turn it's attention to our childrens homes.
They closed all the larger homes and replaced them with much smaller ones.
These homes also became home to 'problem' kids. It wasn't long before most of the 'childrens homes' became 'young offenders' homes.
It is strange to look back at those days because I didn't even notice it.
We didnt have any 'childrens homes'. Lumping all the kids together in young offenders allowed the politicians to drive attention to the rise in kids wayward behaviour and away from the foster and adoption mess they had previously created.
The government tactics of new policies for dealing with young offenders worked for good while.
An excellent job was being done with our young. Unfortunately (for them) the children of the eighties started to emerge as adults.
As adults they started to speak of the abuse that went on in a lot of the so called 'homes'.
They needed another ploy to deflect from the rising number of ex-care kids who had obviously been damaged by the "care" system.
Deflect from the damage they could not but going back to good old fashioned policies of morality without the public opinion they could. So the birth of Closed Family Courts! Adoptions could get back on track with targets and incentives.
Moral policing of families could be enforced and the best part, silence of the objectors.
If the UK appears to have go 'IT' right with our kids, that is exactly what it is 'appearance'.
Our adoption rate is rising.
In 1995 950 adoptions took place involving children under one year of age in 2006 that number rose to 2,120. 3,700 adoptions took place in the UK in 2006. All these adoptions involved children who had been placed in care.
John Hemming MP, has all the figures.