Reaction to France Inter’s reporting on so-called lucrative profit-making search business


Yesterdays French reporting on the so-called lucrative profit-making search business calls for some clarification from our side.

Against Child Trafficking (ACT) is a registered non-profit organisation in the Netherlands.

Adoptee Rights Council (ARC) is a registered non-profit organisation in India.
Therefore we are per definition not for profit.

Together ACT and ARC run a professional office on investigating child trafficking, as well as offering searches for Indian adoptees. We employ/contract qualified staff. Arun Dohle, as founder and director is not paid a salary, but gets an allowance for expenses.

On average on each search case we spend 200 – 400 working hours. As an organisation we cannot operate below 50 EUR per hour including all overhead cost. At best we would need something between 80 – 100 EUR including all expenses.

Whoever has tried to search in India; knows that it is usually very hard. Arun Dohle has dedicated, not entirely voluntary, his life to assist adoptees and to spare them the nightmare he has faced during his 17 year long search.

The article, while not mentioning the name or link, refers to the “Adoptee Solidarity Fund”. The reporting implies that this is the ultimate profit, a search for 20.000 Euros. Not so. This model, based on solidarity and case per case, has proven the only workable way to finance the searches. It was developed some six years ago and has proven its success in the meantime. As long as there is nobody else takes responsibility for financing repair, and in the absence of State funding, this Adoptee Solidarity Fund made our work sustainable and worked miracles (even when we had like anyone else a backlash due to Covid).

It is not ideal at all; but funding is out of sight as it is given only to ISS associated organisations.

There is no profit and it is a grave insult and rather defamatory to suggest this. The “Yann” quoted is not known to us. The journalist could have contacted us. It seems a rather clear attempt to defame all private searches, in order to steer all funding to the Hague/ISS system, like was done in The Netherlands – Almost 40 million euro for a new Expertise Center (INEA).

We appreciate that the issue of the unregulated search market is being highlighted.

Since long do we advocate for compensation for victims/adoptees and sufficient funding to finance the work of organisations which assist adoptees re-connecting with their families.

Furthermore, there need to be standards and operational protocols that detail the role and rights of all parties involved, last but not least out of respect for the mothers. During the design process of the Dutch Expertise Centrum INEA we have plead for all above points. To no avail. The small projects available for searches by adoptee organisations, are too small and rather unworkable.

Adoptee leaders nowadays plea no more for compensation, but just for a small amount +- 5.000 euros to be given to each adoptee for their searches. That exactly will further stimulate a private market in roots searchers in which middlemen of all kind will operate: tourist guides, former child recruiters, adoption facilitators.

It is hard to find back families. The failure is not with us, nor are we commercial as suggested. The failure is with the receiving States who in the first place allowed our forced migration/trafficking, mostly without birth certificate and relinquishment documents. Our identities were erased. The failure is also with “International Social Service” whose then Indian correspondent Indian Council of Social Welfare (ICSW) who advised the Indian Courts in each and every adoption since 1972.

The very same International Social Service Network is now funded by the Dutch and French governments. Earlier the Australian government funded ISS as well.

ISS has never solved cases in India. They tried setting up a roots programme, and failed.

The State funded INEA, embedded in FIOM which is ISS per definition, does not carry out searches for adoptees. They give tips and/or refer to other organisations, such as ours.

To portray us, a professionally run organisation that serves adoptees successfully, as criminals who exploit adoptees for financial gain is below the belt.

France Inter has the audacity to republish parts of our website, but neither link to it or name us, nor contacted us.

Yes, the numbers cited are correct. I can proudly say that we solved since 2004 more than 80 searches. It is tons of work and it costs money. As long as ISS gets the State funding? We do not have a choice; other than to operate funded through the solidarity of the adoptee community.

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