The 'railroad' hit its peak during the US Civil War years with estimates of up to 100,000 freed slaves being bandied about, although sources indicate that the successful number is closer to 30,000, or even as low as 6,000. Considering the network of safe houses was mostly informal, the lowest figure seems the most likely.
The reason I bring this up is the continuing furore about 'secret courts' and forced adoptions in the UK, the most high profile of which is the recently leaked case of Vicky Haigh, which may only be the tip of a very large and polluted iceberg. From what I can see, various UK Social Service departments have been operating against basic human rights laws, and the Police have been complicit. Although in their defence I'd say that the Police are fed a line, and are bound to comply with the demands of Social Services. All Social Services have to do is make an allegation, and the blind juggernaut of Police and Courts rumbles into action.
The heart of the problem lies with PAF C23, which sets out 'targets' for adoptions and care orders. At this point I blink heavily and suppress the need to go "WTF?" How can you set targets for Social Service driven adoptions like a commercial sales operation? What complete fucking genius came up with that crazy idea? What affectioned time pleaser first mooted Key Performance Indicators for adoption? Which sectionable bunch of cretins put it into action? Who insist that the practice continues? Ofsted, that's who. I discussed the matter this morning with Mrs S, who opined that giving Social Workers 'adoption targets' was a licence for corruption. To quote from the UK Parliament early day motion;
Ofsted continues to put pressure on local authorities to increase the number of adoptions; recognises that the only significant way in which this can be done is to increase the adoptions of babies and toddlersSuch is the motivation for stealing unweaned children from their parents almost literally at birth. One of the cited reasons for such evil is an unverifiable 'risk of emotional abuse'. Now being a parent, I know that low level 'emotional abuse' is pretty much a two way street in any family. I've been on the receiving end, and tried very hard not to pay back in kind (Not always possible). And it's a pretty flimsy excuse for such a draconian measure.
There's also the accusation that certain people are using the Foster Care system as a regular source of income. At twenty thousand pounds a year per child, all you've got to do is foster two or three and it's easy street, at least financially speaking. Decline the unruly teens (Who the unscrupulous would just dump back into the 'care' system) and go for the toddlers. Three children, and you can live quite comfortably. Mrs S and I brought our two up on a net income of almost half that. We never starved.
Some families under threat of such child theft leave the UK and often flounder in new circumstances. Others, like Miss Haigh, have a wide circle of friends and associates overseas who have perhaps assisted her with tips about where to find accommodation, shielding her identity / location from officialdom where necessary. Others may seek practical assistance from Ian Josephs 'Forced adoption' website. Although I think Ian could do with a little assistance in creating a more user friendly site. Too many words Ian. It needs restructuring into something a little more practical and user friendly.
Here in Canada, we are still recovering from the scandal of 'Residential schools' where First Nations children were taken to Borstal like establishments to be 'educated'. The fallout is still making money for various ambulance chasing lawyers, who up until 2009 had big billboards up on Highway 19 north of town with wording like "Victim of Residential School system?" The scandal has cost the Canadian Taxpayer not far short of a billion dollars;
Total Compensation as of March 01, 2011: CAD$960,247,668Taken from the original source here. When the scandal finally breaks (As break it must, injunctions or no) in the UK, guess who will be picking up the tab? Got it in one - Taxpayers
Perhaps the powers that be should recognise that, like with slavery, people (Even small and helpless ones) are not property.
Although I won't be holding my breath for that penny to drop.
Cross posted at Orphans of Liberty. Or rather not.