Priyanka Dasgupta | TNN | Dec 11, 2016, 08.02 AM IST
KOLKATA: Arun Swanand Dohle was adopted as a month-old baby from Kusumbai Motichand Mahila Seva Gram (KMMSG) in Pune by Belgium-based Michael and Gertrud Dohle.Twenty years later, in 1993, Germany-based Dohle came to Pune to trace his roots. It was in 2010 that he reunited with his biological parents. Having worked extensively on child trafficking and adoption issues, Dohle insists that the Kolkata child-trafficking scandal is at least three decades old and was covered extensively by the international media.
Browsing through old records ahead of a BBC feature on the child trafficking racket in Kolkata, Dohle spoke about international media reports that date back to August 22, 1982.”Having worked in this sphere for years, I know that adoption from Kolkata was under the scanner of the international media as early as 1982. The international media had reported on the dubious system of `babies for sale’ that was allegedly conducted by International Mission of Hope (IMH) in Kolkata. Incidentally, Sree Krishna Nursing Home, which has been involved in the current scandal, used to be one of the suppliers of babies to IMH,” he said.
In an article titled “The short tragic life of Nathan, the baby who was bought for £ 2000”, The Mail had reported that Nathan was adopted by an American couple, Ron and Robbie Flanders from the small town of Oakfield, New York. They had paid £2000 to an American adoption agency. Nathan had fallen ill within a few days of arrival to America after a long journey. Controversy had erupted over whether Nathan would have died anyway or already underweight and sick, he was `killed’ by being forced to undergo such a long and exhausting jour ney in the unnatural environment of a jet aircraft.Fingers were also pointed at an international airlines for shipping “unwanted Indian children 9,000 miles to America”.
Back in the 80s, there was an uproar when reports came out about how hundreds of babies, just a few weeks old, were transported from the slums of Kolkata to American families prepared to pay £2000 for each child. During those days, if a baby died shortly after delivery, a new one was sent over free of charge. “This was really the first big adoption scandal related to India. The Supreme Court of India had taken up the case, based on a letter of SC advocate LK Pandey,” Dohle said.
According to him, it was after this legal battle that the Supreme Court laid down detailed guidelines to transform this “baby business” into something “ethical”. “The current scandal shows it obviously failed. It makes one wonder how such trafficking can go on for decades. Left behind are women who don’t know what happened to their children, adoptees who wonder whether they are victims of child trafficking,” he said.