ABC News: “China’s Lost Children”

This article from ABC is another reason why we MUST look at the possibility of trafficking of children for international adoption.

From the article:

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.

Some of the kidnapped children are forced into work, girls
often into the sex trade. Others are purchased by families in China who
desperately want a child, usually a boy to carry on the family name.
But there is also a growing concern that some make their way overseas,
with unsuspecting foreign adoptive parents who don’t realize that some
orphanages have baby-buying programs, offering cash for children.

Another quote (from an orphanage spokesperson):

"We buy babies from migrant workers and farmers from poor provinces.
& After the business is done, these people disappear and never come
back," she said. She told us the cash-for-babies practice is legal but,
according to Chinese law, it is not. It is against the law to buy or
sell a child.

Another orphanage worker tells the reporter they pay $300 for a baby girl. Later on the director of this orphanage denies that it buys babies.

And finally this quote talks about the impact foreign adoption is having on families in China who wish to adopt. I take special note of this because some of these concerns were also issues in South Korea for families who want to adopt. Any time agencies receive more money to send their children overseas than to families in the country, I think there is a problem because it encourages agencies to send kids overseas and does not support or encourage domestic adoption.

Pi Yijun, a scholar at the China University of Politics and Law, says
that the numbers of international versus domestic adoptions are
strictly confidential.

National figures are not even provided to Chinese researchers.
He said foreign adoptions are an embarrassment to the government.

"It is considered a negative thing to discuss disabled or
abandoned babies. It has to do with China’s birth policy and the social
insurance system. It’s a very sensitive issue."

The influx of foreign applications to adopt Chinese kids is, in
many cases, making it more difficult for Chinese couples who can’t have
children to adopt from orphanages here.

At the orphanage in Changde, the gatekeeper said that foreign
families usually spend five to 10 times more on adoptions than Chinese
families, which often makes foreign families more attractive.
leads to long wait times for Chinese couples, many of whom resort to
the other option, an underground market for infants.

One post on a chat room for Chinese parents looking to adopt
expresses the frustration in wait times. "It’s very hard to adopt a
healthy baby from orphanages in Shanghai. You have to wait probably for
five years. & If you really want to adopt one, you will probably
have to go to orphanages in other places."

The Chinese government has recently put into effect new
restrictions, making it harder for foreigners to adopt Chinese
children. There is a definite push by the central government to
encourage domestic adoptions, but for some Chinese families, the
process is not getting any easier.

The Yang family has been waiting three years to adopt a child.
They are both in their late 20s and have been married for six years,
but Mrs. Yang can’t conceive. They want to adopt a healthy baby girl
but have been unsuccessful.

"We visited orphanages, checked orphanages online and put up adoption ads
online, but without success," Mr. Yang told ABC News.

Yang says, for some babies, the costs involved with legal
adoption are too high. And they are fighting the urge to turn to the
black market. "

We don’t want to adopt babies from traffickers. Some people
introduced to us babies from traffickers, but we don’t even want to see
them," said Mr. Yang.


Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

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