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Profit-driven adoptions turn children into a commodity

A dramatic rise in foreign adoptions from Africa is ringing alarm bells among child advocates who worry that the soaring numbers are fuelled by financial incentives and a lack of basic safeguards.

The number of African children adopted by foreign families has nearly tripled in the past eight years. Nearly 6,350 children from Africa were adopted by foreigners in 2010, compared to less than 2,240 in 2003, according to a report released on Tuesday.

The rapid growth has been accompanied by a proliferation of adoption agencies and orphanages, even though the vast majority of “orphans” actually have at least one living parent.

Many orphanages in Africa are set up to generate profits for the owners, since they can receive up to $30,000 per adopted child, the report’s author says. “They were created for financial gain,” said David Mugawe, executive director of the African Child Policy Forum, which released the report Tuesday. “A lot is happening under the table.”


Living with Dead Hearts


China's Lost Children

Of the Thousands of Children Kidnapped in China, Many Are Adopted by Foreigners


BEIJING, May 12, 2008 —

More than a year ago, Liang Di went missing.

He was 3 years old at the time and shopping at an outdoor food market in Dongguan, China, with his father and 6-year old brother.

The two boys were playing outside while their father was in a hardware store. A man approached the two brothers on the street and offered them sweets. And then the man took little Di away.

His father, Liang Xiangrong, and brother did not see where they went. His parents went to the police but were told that they needed to find more clues before the authorities could do anything to help. The police never launched an investigation. And Liang Xiangrong said trying to solicit help from government officials is useless.

"We didn't tell the local officials what happened to our boy. Even if we told them, who would believe what a poor migrant worker said?" he told ABC News.

All they could do was talk to police and with other families in the area whose children had been kidnapped. The family has not heard anything about the possible whereabouts of their child. The last year has been agony.

"We think of him every day. When we close our eyes in bed at night, we think of him. When we see other people's children, we think of him. We really miss him," Liang said.

There has been a spate of child kidnappings in Dongguan, among other cities in the last few years, mostly targeting the children of poor migrant workers. Now, little Di is a statistic.

The 2007 U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons report says that domestic trafficking "remains the most significant problem in China." It estimates that there are up to 20,000 victims each year, but because this is an underground practice, it is virtually impossible to track. Some estimates put the number of children kidnapped or sold on the black market closer to 70,000. The Chinese government says the number is more like 10,000.

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  • China busts enormous child trafficking ring

    Police in China have announced they had busted two enormous child trafficking rings, arresting more than 600 suspects and rescuing 178 children.

    The black industry of stealing children is big business in China, where desperate families are willing to pay up to £10,000 for a baby boy they can raise as their own.

    As many as 70,000 Chinese children are thought to be kidnapped each year, often snatched from rural areas in the north of the country and then funnelled south to families in the provinces of Fujian and Guangdong. Last year, Chinese police managed to rescue some 6,000 of them.

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    Chinese babies reportedly trafficked into adoption

    Authorities in China are investigating reports that about 20 babies born in violation of population-control policies were abducted and then trafficked into adoption by officials.

    The investigation comes after Caixin magazine reported this week that family planning officials in central China's Hunan province had abducted children and sold them internationally - some to people in the United States and the Netherlands.

    Chinese officials do not always enforce the "one child" policy with much vigour and the worst that violators normally expect is a fine.

    The case, which is not the first to accuse Chinese family planning officials of abusing population control policies for profit, sheds further light on the uneven implementation of child-population-control policy.

    One family claimed they had not broken the law as the child was their first, but family planning "enforcers" nonetheless took the baby away.

    "They mistook my daughter for being illegal when my wife and I were working in Shenzhen," migrant worker Yang Libing told the magazine.

    Mr Yang said he had tracked down his daughter, now seven years old and living in the United States.
    Family planning officials in Longhui county allegedly received $142 for each child handed over to welfare agencies, which in turn received up to $2,760 for each child put up for adoption overseas, it said.

    The abductions peaked in the middle of the last decade but had been occurring for 10 years, the magazine said.

    Trafficking of women and children remains a serious problem in China, with many sociologists blaming the one child policy for fuelling the crime.

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    Investigations Find Chinese Babies are Abducted, Sold for Adoption: Canadian Government Challenges C

    October 21, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Canadian government has called on China to respond to claims that Chinese babies are being kidnapped from their parents and sold to orphanages so as to be adopted by Canadians and other Westerners, reports Canwest News Service.

    The Canadian embassy in Beijing has reportedly requested that an investigation be conducted by the China Centre of Adoption Affairs (CCAA), the Chinese federal agency in charge of the country's international adoption program.

    This news follows an investigative report last month in the Los Angeles Times, which revealed horrific stories of babies being kidnapped from their parents by Chinese 'family planning' officials who later sold them through orphanages for a U.S. $3,000 adoption fee.

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    Chinese baby trafficking leaves farmers forlorn

    Children taken under guise of one-child policy and sent to be adopted abroad
    Forty-seven year old Yang Li Bing puffs on a cigarette as he shuffles through photos of a daughter he hasn’t seen in seven years.

    “After she was taken in 2004, I could hardly sleep and I asked my wife if we could have another. But losing Yang Ling was too difficult," he says. "My wife left me.”

    Yang is one of many poor farmers in the remote village of Gao Ping in China's Hunan province, where residents say the family-planning officials who enforce the country's one-child policy have seized at least 20 babies and sent them to orphanages to be adopted abroad.

    Yang says he has little faith in the Communist Party’s ability to investigate misconduct by the local officials. After Yang went public with his story, other farmers came forward. The incidents all happened between 2002 and 2005.
    At the time, Yang — like many poor farmers — was working far away in a factory in Guangdong province when he received a call from his father.

    “As soon as I was told they had taken Yang Ling, I rushed back to Hunan and went to the family planning office. But they told me I was too late. My daughter had been adopted by a family in the United States.”

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    Chinese police target child smugglers and rescue 89 babies

    Police in China say they have rescued 89 kidnapped babies during operations to break up child smuggling gangs.

    The police told Chinese state media they had arrested more than 300 people in southern provinces.

    Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of children go missing in China each year where criminal gangs steal the children and sell them to childless couples.

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    Kidnapped Chinese Babies?

    Paradoxically, the one-child policy in China has created a system where buying (or kidnapping) and selling babies is a lucrative business.
    The recent news released by Xinhua, the Chinese government’s news agency, about the rescue of kidnapped children is repeated every year or two. The rescued children are either old enough to be forced into slave labor, or worse, as victims of organ harvesting. In other cases, girls are sold to bachelor groups as sexual slaves.
    But most disturbing perhaps is a system that has created a lucrative market of selling babies for adoption. Infant boys fetch a high price, but girls, too, are not spared. Besides the profitable foreign adoption industry, baby girls can be sold domestically to Chinese families seeking to raise future brides for their only sons.
    The December 2006 announcement by the government of the People’s Republic of China of its tighter guidelines for foreign adoption was explained as the diminishing supply of available babies. The Chinese claimed that they could no longer meet the growing demand from foreigners wishing to adopt.

    Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/281258#ixzz1vR3K1DNZ

    Has anyone seen our child?

    In China, 190 children are snatched every day - more than twice the number taken in England and Wales in a year. The Chinese government does not acknowledge the extent of the problem, or the cause. The Single Child Policy has made it essential to have a son, leading to the abortion of more than 40 million girls and setting the price on a boy's head at more than six months' wages. By Clare Dwyer Hogg

    The events of this summer mean that every one of us will have considered, for a moment at least, the horror of having a child snatched. The emotions parents must endure aren't hard to imagine: the creeping numbness of realisation; the shock turning to panic as the minutes tick by; the helpless reliance on the goodwill of others, particularly the police. In Europe, the cases of child kidnapping are sporadic. In China, however, they are increasingly common. Around 190 children are snatched every day - stolen from their beds and the streets. This is more than double the average number of abductions recorded in England and Wales over a whole year. If 190 people were dying every day from the same illness, you'd call it an epidemic. And that's exactly what it is, except nobody really wants to talk about it. Especially the Chinese government.

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    Kidnappers swoop on China's girls

    WHEN Li Xiang Xiang, aged 2½, went out of her family's home on April 1 to the shop around the corner, as she did every day, her mother expected to see her back in minutes with a big smile and a bag of sweets.

    Instead, Xiang Xiang - whose rhyming name means "thoughtful" - vanished and her heartbroken mother and father joined the ranks of Chinese parents who fear they have lost their little girls to child kidnappers.

    Small boys have long been abducted for sale in China, but in recent years the country's strict birth control policy, which has led to abortions of girls in families intent on having a boy, has left the countryside short of female babies.

    According to a recent report in the British Medical Journal, 124 boys are born for every 100 girls in the country as a whole, and in one province the figure has risen to 192.

    Stolen girls have therefore become increasingly valuable commodities in an cruel trade. Many are bought by farmers who want wives for their small sons when they come of age or by men who want a child bride without a dowry, say police and the state media.

    The public security ministry says that between 2,000 and 3,000 children and young women are kidnapped every year, but the state-controlled newspapers have put the figure as high as 20,000. Only a handful of cases are solved.
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    ’Chinese kidnappers swoop on girls amid shortage of females’

    China’s one-child policy has led to a shortage of females that baby kidnappers are ruthlessly exploiting, forcing authorities to launch a nation-wide DNA database to help resolve identification of missing children, a news report said on Sunday. Thousands of parents across China have been forced to resort to a mass campaign by signing up to a website whose name means “baby come home”. They have posted details of their missing children on the social website, defying authorities instinctive move to suppress such a campaign.
    According to China’s public security ministry, between 2,000 and 3,000 children and young women are kidnapped every year, but the state-controlled newspapers have put the figure as high as 20,000, The Times daily reported.

    The ministry was forced to launch a nation-wide DNA database to help resolve identification of missing children.

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    International adoptions drop amid fraud crackdowns

    — The number of international adoptions has fallen to its lowest point in 15 years, a steep decline attributed largely to crackdowns against baby-selling, a sputtering world economy and efforts by countries to place more children with domestic families.

    Globally, the number of orphans being adopted by foreign parents dropped from a high of 45,000 in 2004 to an estimated 25,000 last year, according to annual statistics compiled by Peter Selman, an expert on international adoptions at Britain's Newcastle University.

    Some adoption advocates argue the decrease is also linked to a set of strict international guidelines known as the Hague Adoption Convention. Devised to ensure transparency and child protection following a rash of baby-selling and kidnapping scandals, critics say the guidelines have also been used by leading adopting nations, including the U.S., as a pretext for freezing adoptions from some countries that are out of compliance.

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    Real face of adoption shames the 8th Adoption Day

    On May 11, 2006, National Adoption Day was established to achieve a healthy adoption culture and to encourage domestic adoptions.

    However, real change seems to have been slow. Even now, adoptees are still exposed to illegal trades or violence.

    Lately, an unidentified person uploaded a posting that she said she wanted her unborn daughter expected this week to be adopted. To the posting, two replies were, “Please contact me,” and “I want to adopt her if you sign a note that you will never come to see her.”

    This “private adoption without public channels” can be often found in society, although it is illegal. This is because it is hard to collect evidence to punish those who trade babies.
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    The Stolen Makeni Children

    A court finds that the adoptees from Sierra Leone were in fact kidnapped.

    Were Samuel Mosley and Adama K. stolen from their birth families in Makeni, Sierra Leone so that Americans could adopt them—and so that greedy middlemen masquerading as child welfare workers could get paid? That question was at the heart of the series published here last August, The Makeni Children, which investigated the torturously complex stories of 29 adoptions in 1998 from Sierra Leone to the United States. Birth families from Makeni had agitated for more than a dozen years, insisting that their children had been wrongfully taken. But the child welfare organization that had taken those children, HANCI (Help a Needy Child International), insisted that the families were lying—that in the midst of the brutal civil war, they had knowingly and willingly given their children away.

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