Pregnant Filipino women have been recruited to travel overseas legally as tourists then sell their newborns to waiting adoptive parents, the Department of Social Welfare and Development said on Wednesday.Not the first time I've heard of prospective birth mothers as portable incubators -- see here and here. It's easier to smuggle pregnant women than helpless infants, and it's easier to do a domestic adoption by moving the potential birth mother in-country than to do an international adoption.
Social Welfare Undersecretary Alicia Bala disclosed the newest form of child trafficking at the 11th Global Consultation on Child Welfare Services in Makati City.
Bala said that two cases had so far been reported—one in Austria two years ago and another in Malta last year.
Speaking about the latest case in Malta, Bala said: “The mother who’s pregnant [was] sponsored to go to that place with the intent of having the child adopted.”
“This is a form of trafficking… Our attention was called by Malta authorities,” she told reporters.
The mother has returned to the country but her child is now undergoing procedure for adoptive parents to keep the baby in custody.
“This is just one instance but, who knows, there may be other cases that are not brought to our attention. It is a prearranged plan of giving birth there, then they give the baby up. They don’t keep the baby because there is already that intention to have the baby adopted abroad,” Bala said.
As the mothers are able to exit the country legally, such cases are hard to detect unless reported by the receiving country, Bala said.
“You can’t stop anyone from traveling. There’s no reason for immigration agents to be suspicious about why a pregnant woman is going overseas. Maybe there’s a facilitator here,” Bala said.
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