Saturday, June 23, 2012

International Adoption's Trafficking Problem

From the Harvard Political Review:
International adoptions have an illustrious façade, conjuring images of couples saving a hungry, orphaned child and living happily ever. While imagining international adoptions as a corrupt business is abhorrent, connections to child trafficking have recently arisen. Accordingly, the State Department reports that though Americans adopted 22,991 international children in 2004, the implementation of The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption brought about a precipitous drop to 9,319 adoptions in 2011.

Over the past decade, Western investigative journalists led by Scott Carney have published on hidden realities. Despite the illusion that there are more orphans available than parents looking to adopt, there is insatiable demand for children from the developing world, particularly healthy infants.

With this enormous market, many opportunities exist for profit seekers. Promises of astronomical adoption fees motivate orphanages to ensure a steady supply of children. This causes orphanages to resort to drastic measures, even occasionally paying kidnappers directly. According to Carney’s reports in his book The Red Market, the problem is particularly rampant in impoverished Asian countries. Malaysian Social Services, located in Chennai, India, has paid about $236 per child, while China’s Hunan Province hosts institutions that openly purchase children openly for up to $350. Western adoption agencies are not immune from temptation either. Notably, employees of Zoe’s Ark, a French charity, attempted to fly 103 “Sudanese war refugees” from Chad in 2007. Police later determined that most of the children had been taken unwillingly from their families in Chad.


Anonymous said...

Timely post. I just read about an American family that was (briefly) jailed for human trafficking in Ghana, where they had just completed the adoption of 4 Ghanaian children:

I haven't yet seen any mainstream media reports about this case, but the rumors are that the 4 Ghanaian kids had forged paperwork, the PAPs knew it and decided to proceed with the adoption anyways (what on earth possesses people to do this??? Well, if said rumor is true).

In any cases, the PAPs are still in Accra, out on bail and have been reunited with their 2 biokids (who were traveling with their parents on the pick up the 4 new siblings trip), ie biokids released from "child center". The 4 adopted kids have not and (as yet) will not be released to PAPs Christine and Sol manahuan (sp??).

Leah said...

I was just coming here to post the same case!! Honestly? Good for the Ghanaian government for cracking down. There's something extremely fishy about this story. It particularly burns me that this blog and others like it are asking us to pray for the family's swift release and swift adoption (!), and claiming that Satan is behind their detainment. Um, seriously? First of all, there's a good dose of racist/xenophobic condescension buried in the automatic dismissal of the concerns of the police, when there's no proof that those concerns are ill-founded. Trafficking is a HUGE problem in international adoption! Corruption is absolutely rampant, which is why countries keep shutting their programs down. That's not Satan, folks, that's good public policy. It also gets under my skin that people keep pointing to the family's blog as "proof" that they couldn't have committed this crime. Yes, they're a nice, good looking Christian family. And? Nice, good looking Christians commit atrocities everyday, sometimes with the best of intentions. I've also seen Christian adoption bloggers wave away concerns about corruption before. Of COURSE God wants these children in Christian, American homes! Anyone who says differently hates adoption, and children, and God, and probably America.

I say all this as a PAP, by the way. I'm not unilaterally against international adoption, but I believe it should be open, transparent, and ALWAYS an absolute last resort in cases of the most dire need...which this particular international adoption really doesn't seem to be. At all.

Anonymous said...

Lzzzz - It is not just be then.... I came back here in the hope that someone else would have more info on this case.

The blogger I cited above just put up a posts writing that "In order to protect this precious family from speculation, judgement, and complete ignorance, I have removed the post.  I may possibly repost it later"

My spidey-sense is tingling... especially since a rival adoption agency called MLJ Adoptions (the Moghadams are reportedly working with Dillon Adoptions) posted a very **interesting** post on the evils of corruption in international on the very same day that the Mognahans were arrested in Ghana -- I came across it on this blog:

(scroll halfway down to the link to a press release by MLJ adoptions)

I'm with you -- corruption in international adoption is so wrong and so common. And sometimes the people who really and truly believe they have god on their side and "the ends justify the means" are the very worst offenders (eg Zoe's Arc debacle, missionary leader Laura Silsby who attempted to sneak a bunch of Haitian kids to a not-yet-in-existence orphanage in the Dominican Republic in the wake of the 2010 earthquake, etc).

Unknown said...

This blog post came to our attention because it mentions MLJ Adoptions. I just wanted to let you know that when we posted the blog on corruption that you are referring to, we did not yet know about the Monghadam family. We were not making an accusation against Dillon in any way.