I had no idea initially, but over time, I became more informed. It was around 2002/2003 when child trafficking for intercountry adoption was exposed in Andhra Pradesh, India. A human rights defender who was involved in this issue engaged in direct online conversations with a group of (potential) adoptive parents. Her intention was to bridge the gap and reveal the actual situation on the ground, which often differed from what adoption agencies claimed. I was also part of this online group.
She shared the police charge sheet against certain Indian ‘orphanages,’ including the one against Tender Loving Care Home (TLCH).
The orphanage was under the management of Sister Theresa Maria Katticaren, a member of the Dutch JMJ Congregation. In 2003, Sister Theresa and several others were convicted for conspiring to procure children for intercountry adoption, falsifying relinquishment documents, and demanding large sums of money while not prioritizing domestic adoption – essentially child trafficking.
It became evident to me that the German branch of the International Social Service (ISS) facilitated the adoption of at least 15 children from this institution. The network operated as follows: an Indian translator in Germany, Ms. Suri, who had adopted a child from Sister Theresa’s orphanage, assisted others in adopting from there as well. While Ms. Suri handled the entire process, the formal paperwork was channeled through the German branch of ISS. I later discovered that there were more pending adoptions, as ISS Germany and the Dutch agency Wereldkinderen (N.I.C.W.O) had not formally withdrawn from these arrangements. It took over a year before they discontinued their involvement in these adoptions after extensive discussions with the director of ISS Germany
One of my initial cases involved a German adoptee named Anisha. As revealed in the documentary, Anisha was abducted, a fact that ISS vehemently denied. We maintain contact with Fatima, Anisha’s birth mother, and provide assistance as needed.