Child Trafficking Series Continues: Is inter country adoption another form of child trafficking?

According to the US State Department's Bureau of Consulate Affairs, Americans have adopted approximately 250,000 children from other countries from 1999 to 2013. The growing number of adoptions is seen as a good thing for both the children and their new parents. But in light of the growing numbers of children who are being taken from their parents, picked out of the streets, or coerced into the slavery of child trafficking, it makes one wonder whether inter-country child adoptions are just another form of child trafficking.

While it appears there is no official documentation or report on how many of these children were actually stolen from their parents, a quick internet search is enough to convince even the most skeptical parent that this is truly a possibility. 

This summer, news of a Chilean Priest who told mothers that their newborn babies died only to illegally adopt them out to other families sparked a huge investigations. The argument given for this cruel act was that single mothers are not accepted by society, so it was determined it was better all the way around. But was it? These children had a right to know who their birth mothers were. These mothers had a right to determine whether or not they could provide for their infants, or to choose to legally give them up for adoption.

In February of this year, Chinese officials announced the conclusion to a 6-month sting involving a child trafficking ring that was buying and selling babies. It was discovered that hundreds of infants were being advertised as available for adoption on various websites. 382 babies were rescued as a result. However, many feel that this was just the tip of the iceberg. The demand to adopt healthy infants is on the rise inside and outside of China. In China, families with no sons are often willing to pay thousands of dollars to acquire an heir. Outside China, families eager to share their lives with a child--any child, are also willing to pay for the privilege. 

In poverty stricken or war torn countries, parents have been known to sell their infants for what constitutes a little more than a day or weeks meager supply of food. Others, sign away their rights to conniving child brokers unknowingly on the belief that their child has been selected to attend school in a far away province. However, once the paper is signed the child is not taken to school, but rather becomes the adopted son or daughter of a family who believes they are adopting legitimately. 

There are numerous first-person stories from both the child who has become an adult and is now looking for his/her mother, or from the new adoptive parent who discovers that the child they love was really stolen from his/her mother. 

While I believe most adoptions through reputable agencies are legitimate, it is the ones that slip through the cracks that bother me. No child should ever be a commodity that can be bought and sold at the whim of an unscrupulous parent or child broker. Every child deserves a loving home with parents and family who care, nurture, and guide. 

Child trafficking needs to be stopped! And, if it raises its ugly head in the thousands of inter-country adoptions that take place throughout the world, the people involved need to found, tried, and sent to jail. 

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