Sri Lanka acknowledges the existence of ‘baby alarms’ in the 1980s and started investigation

TODAY, 20 September 2017
(Google Translation)

Sri Lanka acknowledges that there were baby farms in the country in the 1980s, or places where women were conceiving to meet the need for adoptable children. That’s what the Sri Lankan health minister said in the [Dutch] Zembla television show.

It is for the first time that the Sri Lankan government admits that the baby farms existed. The stories about baby farms were always dismissed as rumors. Minister Senaratne now says that its existence was the reason to stop international adoption in 1987.

Senaratne takes up the case and initiates an investigation into fraud at the time of adoption. He also says he is taking the initiative for a separate desk where parents and children can test their DNA.

Making babies

How the baby farms looked exactly is not clear, says Zembla reporter Erwin Otten in the NOS Radio 1 Journal . “They are not there anymore, so we do not know. Well, we know that there were places where men and women were gathered who made babies together, and were then traded on the adoption market.”

There was a small club of people behind the fraud, says Otten. “These were for example lawyers and child protection people who found out where to find vulnerable people, who offered money, even though it was not much.”

Pregnant women were given money in the hospital to give up their child.
Zembla reporter Erwin Otten

Fraudless practices also took place in hospitals in Sri Lanka, says Otten. “Pregnant women in the hospital were given money to get their child, so the hospitals work with the “adoptive mafia “, as we call it.”

Otten spoke to a woman who lost her newborn child in the hospital. “She got her child through a caesarean section. Her husband saw the doctor walking out of the hospital with the child.” When the doctor returned, he said that the child had died and buried, but he did not say where. Later that hospital appeared to be a door hatch for adoption children. ”

The broadcast Adoptiebedrog part 2 is available tonight at 21:15 on NPO 2.

In the 1980s about 11,000 children from Sri Lanka were adopted. About 4000 of them went to the Netherlands, says Otten. The Netherlands was the biggest buyer.

Last May, Zembla already announced that the adoption files of children who came to the Netherlands from the Sri Lanka in the 1980s were widely falsified . The women who left the children often did not appear to be the biological mother. Also, brothers and sisters of the adoptive children were kept secret and travel documents were manually provided with new birth dates.


State Secretary Dijkhoff announces that he is going to see if there is a role for the Dutch government in the investigation in Sri Lanka. Thus he looks into which organizations and persons in the Netherlands were involved in the adoptions.