2010! Four years later, intercountry adoption worldwide decreased with more than 65%.
On the wall of their office in Brussels is a large world map with green, red and blue dots. Green for the ‘open’ adoption countries, red for the countries that closed the doors. And blue ones representing the regions which Roelie Post (49) and Arun Dohle (36) have so far examined: Malawi, Ethiopia, China, Peru and India.
Their goal is a “red world”: five years from now inter-country adoptions should have been stopped. According to them, it is “legalized trade of children”, where vulnerable children are exchanged for large sums of money. Their description of adoption has, John Le Carré-like features: stolen babies, unscrupulous traders, cheating orphanage directors and forged adoption procedures. This is, as they say, the rule.
To make this “commerce” visible and to frustrate it, Post and Dohle, together founded Against Child Trafficking (ACT). In their office, located in Post’s basement, the two make long days: “And often the phone rings here at three at night”.
SOURCE: DE TROUW
A small selection of what we have been doing:
ACT’s LETTER TO THE AUSTRALIAN AUTHORITIES
Dear Sir, Madam,
ACT is a non profit organisation registered in The Netherlands that researches intercountryadoption in order to document past and current practices.
Considering the ongoing debate in Australia on intercountry adoptions, we hereby forwardyou some of our documentation. It concerns documents related to Australia’s adoption partners in China, Colombia, Ethiopia and India.
We hereby express concern about the regular breach of adoption rules and procedures and the continuation of partnerships with partners that were, in some cases, already convicted for child trafficking, while in other cases their trustworthiness is at least questionable.
Although trafficked children enter Australia under legal adoption procedures, we would invite you to consider the Australian authorities’ liability in adoption cases of kidnapped children where available information was willfully ignored…
NATIONAL CONSULTATION ON ‘COUNTERING CHALLENGES IN ADOPTION: COMBATING CHILD TRAFFICKING’
10-11 January 2009, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi
(ACT, Arun Dohle, had an important input into the conference, asking for a moratorium)
RESOLUTION PASSED AT THE CONSULTATION
Majority of the participants resolved todemand for a moratorium on inter-countryadoptions for a period of 10 years. Thisresolution was discussed at length and it wasdecided through a majority vote that both inprinciple and as a strategy India needs to stopinter-country adoptions for some time.
The money involved in inter-country adoptions has led to several malpractices. Since inter-country adoption allows agencies to charge a fee and seek donations (money) from prospective adoptive parents for the upkeep of the child till the adoption takes place, the greed for dollars has led to a flourishing adoption racket. Also, as a result, very little efforts are made for domestic adoptions and after some time, agencies tend to suggest that the child is unable to find a family within the country. States do not link up to ensure that if a child does not find a family in one state, efforts are made for the same in other states. Over the years, with a couple of media stories on the adoption rackets and active involvement of NGOs and campaigns in monitoring the situation, the official number of inter-country adoptions has indeed gone down from 1298 in 2001 to 666 in 2009. Clearly, India is capable of taking care of its children! Why should it then place any of its children in inter-country adoption?
Moreover, the argument given by CARA and adoption agencies that children with disability seldom find an Indian family stands no ground. There is no data to suggest so. In fact, many children with correctible disabilities have been placed in inter-country adoption so that the need to invest in the treatment of such children can be evaded.
Illegal adoptions and large-scale trafficking of children for the same, failure of existing rules and regulations to check such commoditisation of children, a large number of Indian parents and children awaiting adoption, and most importantly, the business interests of the adoption lobby turning it into a racket, demands an immediate moratorium on inter-country adoption. It was thus resolved by a majority vote that India should put a moratorium on inter-country adoptions for 10 years.
This resolution demanding a moratorium of 10 years on inter-country adoptions was argued and discussed at length.
It was agreed upon by all participants that such a resolution was required both as a principle and as a strategy to put a check on malpractices involved in the adoption sector and to ensure that all adoptions are in keeping with the principle of the best interest of the child, as contained in the UNCRC.
FRUITS OF ETHIOPIA
The Rights of the Child,or the “Harvesting” of Children?
The findings of the research: Overall, the current adoption system actively creates an unwarranted high number of children available for adoption. Intercountry adoption is, in reality, privileged to any other in-country suitable manner of care.
Local child protection policies, while existing, are not implemented, while the intercountry adoption market is more and more taking control of the local child protection, as well as the social and health sector.
The adoption process is riddled by fraud and other criminal activities. Parents are stated dead, whereas they are not, dates of birth are falsified, false information is provided to the Courts.
But most important: The demand-driven intercountry adoption process is breaking up families, who could be helped in building up their lives with a fraction of the money involved in intercountry adoption.
Requesting ACT to be given Observer Status at the Hague Convention Special Commission. The request was refused, arguing that ACT is not an international organization.