Thursday, July 1, 2010

Protocol for Responding to Allegations of Trafficking in International Adoption

Australia's Attorney General has developed a protocol for responding to allegations of trafficking and other illegalities in international adoptions:

Allegations or concerns about a particular adoption can be distressing and potentially life altering for all parties, particularly the child or children involved. In working to address these issues, it is important not to lose sight of the best interests of the child and the need to be sensitive to the concerns of both Australian adoptive families and overseas birth families. The Australian Central Authorities take any credible allegations or concerns seriously and are committed to maintaining the integrity of Australia’s intercountry adoption programs.

This protocol, developed by the Australian Government Attorney General’s Department (AGD – the Australian Central Authority under the Hague Convention) in consultation with the State and Territory Central Authorities, is designed to provide information and assistance to adoptive families and adoptees in circumstances where there have been allegations or concerns about child trafficking within a country of origin, with the subsequent adoption of a child or children to Australia via the Australian intercountry adoption process or specific concerns raised in individual cases.
The protocol lists some ways concerns about trafficking might come to light:

• observations of irregularities in current intercountry adoption cases

• comments made by an adopted child about his or her background

• concerns about a current intercountry adoption raised by an adoptive family

• concerns about a past intercountry adoption raised by an adoptive family or an adult adoptee

• concerns about a past intercountry adoption raised by a birth family or authority in the country of origin

• reviews or investigations conducted by a country of origin, another receiving country or Australian Central Authorities

• media reports

• legal proceedings, and

• origin searching.
Some interesting points --  the document contemplates that adult adoptees may raise the issue with the government, so there doesn't seem to be a time limit beyond which the government won't investigate such allegations.   The government will not only investigate, but will also assist individual investigations.  And that aid might include financial assistance and counseling.

Good on ya, Australia!

1 comment:

Sheri said...

Hi, Malinda, I sent you an email to both your inboxes earlier this week - did you see them? Check your Trash bin?? Thanks!