Sunday, January 15, 2012

International Adoption Scam Busted in Mexico

The Daily Mail reports that 11 Irish families were scammed by a child-smuggling ring in Mexico:
Seven Mexican babies have been seized from Irish couples after ­police in Guadalajara smashed an international child-­smuggling ring.

Officials said the couples believed they were following proper adoption channels but that the babies were actually being sold by their mothers. Up to 11 Irish families
were being questioned this weekend in connection with the scam, centred in the Guadalajara region of central Mexico, where four local women have been arrested.

* * *
Three Mexican women, all aged in their early 30s, were subsequently arrested on suspicion of belonging to a child-trafficking gang.

They are suspected of using newspaper advertisements to find expectant mothers who did not want to keep their babies – then buying the infants from the women and handing them over to wealthy foreign couples who travelled to Mexico seeking to adopt.

The Irish couples were reportedly given the babies at a hotel in Guadalajara and sent to the nearby town of Ajijic, a popular retirement destination for Canadian and American expats, to spend a fortnight with the babies while adoption papers were processed.

The processing was done in the neighbouring state of Colima. It is not clear whether suspected gang members intended faking documents or had corrupt local officials in their pay.

The birth mothers are said to have been paid €70 a week plus medical expenses while they were pregnant.

One local paper reported that after the mothers gave birth, the child-trafficking suspects got them to sign a contract permitting them to ‘hire’ their babies for €30 a day over a fortnight for use in photoshoots for publicity contracts.

Instead, the babies were handed over to the foreign couples and the birth mothers were given a copy of the contract, which they used to justify their babies’ absence to friends and neighbours. Mexican authorities said the Guadalajara-based firm Lopez & Lopez Associates was involved in drawing up those contracts. It is not clear whether the mothers knew their babies would be given up permanently or whether they expected them back after the fortnight.

* * *

As the arrests and investigation unfolded during the past few days, Ireland’s Adoption Authority issued a release on Thursday about intercountry adoptions involving Mexico. The Mexican authorities stated that all documentation must be sent by the ‘Adoption Authority of Ireland, or a body accredited by the AAI, to the Federal Central Authority’ – as per the Mexican notice on the Hague Convention website.

The release also pointed out that Irish visa applicants must clearly state the actual purpose of their visit to Mexico and prospective adoptive parents need to obtain an adoption visa.

‘While some individual States within the Federal United States of Mexico may allow for private domestic adoptions outside public entities, there is no provision for private adoptions in the context of intercountry adoption,’ the release said.

‘No children under five years of age should be proposed for intercountry adoption, the only exceptions being children with special needs or sibling groups.

‘On the basis of the foregoing, prospective adoptive parents should not enter into any private arrangements with private individuals or private agencies.’
In light of that information from the Irish Adoption Authority, I have to say it's hard to believe that the prospective adoptive parents thought they were involved with legitimate international adoption.  It took me three seconds to find out the process of international adoption in Ireland on Google.


Anonymous said...

Our state borders up to Mexico and it is well known that IA does not occur due to corruption. Because corruption occurs so frequently, I'm thinking maybe the PAP's thought no one would notice.

Anonymous said...

MALINDA - PEAR - UNICEF - please comment on the link below. EVERYONE should read this to see how great UNICEF is doing in haiti. DISGUSTING!!!

malinda said...

Funny, anon 2 -- I posted that same video here, to absolutely no reaction. You had to be told what to think about it?!

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. To the extent it's based on fact, it would be nice if people pointed out those facts. Where's the facts that shows this is all UNICEF's fault?

I disagree with many countries' adoption requirements, including China's requirement of married couples, weight limits, bans on gays and lesbians adopting. And when I do, most people say -- sovereign nation, their country, their rules. But now we say, it's UNICEF's fault!

Anonymous said...

What an odd choice, to criticize Unicef in response to a post highlighting the kind of adoption corruption Unicef is fighting against.

marie said...

UNICEF has NOTHING to do with this story. The story is about greed and corruption, birth mother coercion and child trafficking.

The attorney in question (who is on the run now by the way) is named Carlos Lopez, CBS did a storyline on him years ago about his coercion of birthmothers going back 20 years.

If anything this is the VERY thing that UNICEF advocates against.

Anonymous said...

malinda - i don't get to every post of yours. busy with my ia child. the reason i don't blog or exploit my child by blogging. i do take insult to the comment that i need to be 'told' what to think about it.

Anonymous said...

It would take all of 3 seconds to google UNICEF and corruption to pull up the facts. It may take hours to actually go through and read them all.

Anon, your link to the situation in Haiti is heartbreaking and the worst I've seen, but it is something that those of us who have adopted from other countries that UNICEF's policies have impacted are all too familar with.