Bangalore: Feb 19, 2013 DHNS
Activists urge overhaul of laws in bid to curb child trafficking
Child rights activists demanded an overhauling of adoption laws and a ban on inter country adoptions citing instances of child trafficking. Around 10 parents from various states came to talk about their experiences of child trafficking related to adoptions abroad on Tuesday at a press conference.
The activists said many adoption agencies are involved in inter-country adoption scandals and despite written complaints to CARA (Central Adoption Resource Agency) they are still running.
“In many cases even the CBI has confirmed trafficking. However, these agencies are still running, some have changed their names,” said Anjali, an activist from Pune.
The activists said so far there has been no segregated data compiled by CARA on how many adoptions are in waiting, how many children are free for adoption, how many children are in the special needs category and how many inter-country adoptions have taken place. “The first flaw is that CARA has only adoption guidelines and does not have a law. Some guidelines are vague, like CARA claims that preference will be given to intra-country adoptions, and children with special needs will be given for inter-country adoption,” said activist Bharti Ali.
“But the clause for children with special needs includes everything like low birth weight,” she added.
“The right for surrendering a child should be only given to biological parents. The guidelines say that anybody can surrender a child,” added Ali.
Fatima, who hails from Andhra Pradesh said she was divorced when she got pregnant and used to work as a domestic help.
“For my delivery they took me to St Theresa’s Tender Loving Care Home, an adoption agency in Hyderabad. After delivery, the agency demanded Rs 10,000 for the delivery. I could pay only Rs1,500,” she said. Fatima was allowed to take her baby on the condition that the rest of the amount would be paid soon.
“After a few months, the agency officials came over to my house and forcibly took my baby. I was threatened with police action. With the help of local activists I could trace my daughter who is now 18-year-old now and lives in Germany. I don’t understand her language although I have met her twice. She came here for vacations,” she added.
Although some children have been traced to foreign countries, the authorities there have refused to carry out any investigation, say activists.
“Then there is another case where we traced a child in the Netherlands. However the Dutch authorities didn’t cooperate. Though the parents went all the way there, they were not allowed to meet the child,” said an activist.