Aiming To End Intercountry Adoption Practices

No to child exploitation

ACT’s vision is to end intercountry adoptions and aid victims. Our original goal was to halt intercountry adoption within 5 years, but this industry persists, with ongoing efforts in the European Union, the USA, and countries like India to sustain it. 

Nevertheless, we take pride in our contribution to a substantial 90% reduction in intercountry adoptions, with our case-work influencing policy makers and journalists, with the result that country after country has closed this practice down.

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Our Vision

Fight for justice

Our ongoing mission includes seeking justice for intercountry adoption victims, both families whose children were taken and adoptees searching for their parents. To achieve our vision, we recognized that merely working from our Brussels office, relying on donors, reports, and conferences, would be insufficient. We decided to engage in fieldwork, providing assistance to victims, highlighting cases, and documenting individual stories, which have been the basis of our success.

Additionally, we operate at the EU and global levels, advocating for the defence of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and exposing attempts by the intercountry adoption lobby to undermine it through The Hague Adoption Convention, which seeks to provide a legal basis to legitimise this criminal industry.

Paradoxically, our work aligns with what the European Commission should be doing, safeguarding the treaty of the European Union and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Unfortunately the European Commission neglected the lessons learned in Romania where inter-country adoption was faced down, adoptions were halted, a successful reform process was funded and the perverse effects of the Hague Adoption Convention were first observed. This allowed the intercountry adoption lobby to infiltrate Brussels’ institutions and pressure countries like Bulgaria, Montenegro, Serbia and Croatia to implement the Hague Adoption Convention.

Though we initially hoped for EU funding to recognize intercountry adoption as transnational organised crime, we’ve made remarkable progress without any grant funding. We have substantially weakened the intercountry adoption lobby, and the Dutch government’s top legal advisors have in 2016 recommended closing down intercountry adoption, [LINK TO REPORT]. influenced by a paper from  Roelie Post, titled “The Perverse Effect of the Hague Convention.” [LINK] The trafficking and scandals mentioned in the report largely stem from cases ACT has worked on.

In 2019 the Dutch government set up the Joustra Committee to investigate intercountry adoptions thanks to the work of ACT and adult adoptees. In 2021 the Joustra Committee re-confirmed that Intercountry Adoptions had to be stopped.

When the Netherlands ends intercountry adoption, support for the Hague Adoption Convention will become unsustainable, enabling countries worldwide to support children locally, in line with the 193 countries that ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. ACT remains committed to ensuring the respect of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and delivering justice for intercountry adoption victims.

Meet The ACT board

Arun Dohle 

Executive Director

In 1973, a German couple adopted Arun, when he was just two months old, from the Kusumbai Motichand Mahila Seva Gram Orphanage (KMMSG) in Pune, India. His mother had reportedly given Arun up because she was unmarried at the time of his birth.

By his mid twenties Arun was a financial consultant and had begun to search for his roots. All his requests to obtain adoption documents or records pertaining to his biological mother were obstructed by the orphanage.

Over the next 17 years Arun took the fight all the way to the Supreme Court of India which allowed him to access the records in a landmark judgement in 2010. Three months later, he met his mother for the first time.

Arun has lived in Pune and has since dedicated his life to supporting adoptees to unite with their family roots and campaign against intercountry adoption, illegal adoptions and child trafficking.With the support of Arun many more remarkable stories of Indian adoptees finding justice continue to be created.

Anjali Pawar

Consultant India

Anjali Tara Babanrao Pawar is driven by an unwavering commitment to combat injustice wherever it is found. From a young age, she refused to remain silent in the face of wrongdoing, making this a defining aspect of her identity. Known both in India and abroad, Anjali’s name has become synonymous with a resolute spirit and impactful work.In 2003 Anjali founded the NGO “Sakhee”, that works to support educational opportunities for protect rights of underprivileged women and children, and has been part of multiple government committees relating to protection of children in the state of Maharashtra.

These include the Committee for drafting and finalizing the Draft Child Development Policy, 2013, and the Core Committee for drafting the Maharashtra State Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules, 2017. In 2012, Anjali recognized the need for legal expertise in specific cases, prompting her to pursue a law degree.

Her tireless efforts peaked in a significant case where she aided Arun Dohle in reuniting with his birth mother, achieving victory in the Supreme Court. This success propelled Anjali into international advocacy.

Collaborating with Arun, they established the Adoptee Rights Council (ARC) to help children who have been subject to in-country and intercountry adoption connect with their roots. This work led to the exposure of several adoption scams including a notorious case against the Chairperson of the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), who in 2010, faced charges from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

As a consequence, Anjali received death threats, yet her resolve remained unwavering.Anjali emphasizes the integration of their rights and responsibilities, contributing to a greater understanding of their roles as responsible individuals within the community and has successfully reached out to over 10,000 children. In 2019 Anjali received Gravittus Rarn Award, in 2014 Anjali was awarded the USA Sistership Award by the Women International Centre, the Social Gratitude Award by the Social Gratitude Forum in 2013, and in 2003 Anjali received the Yashwantrao Foundation's Youth Award.