Intercountry Adoption: An Instrument Of Child Trafficking
When a family is without children because the parents are unable to conceive
due to infertility, they turn to adoption as a solution. The opportunity to
parenthood that adoption offers the parents is one they otherwise wouldn't have
had. Due to the medical, financial, and emotional risks associated with IVF,
these parents decide against it.
Instead, they choose adoption, which benefits both the parents and the child by
giving them a home and allowing them to experience motherhood. However, current
trends have introduced the idea of international adoption, in which parents
adopt kids from other nations.
There are a number of reasons for this. First, a couple who is living abroad
must want to adopt a child from their country of origin. Second, there may be a
personal connection to the nation. Finally, there may be a humanitarian need to
act in order to provide the child from another nation with a good life,
prosperity, wealth, comfort, and parenting.
India is a developing country that is still battling the problems of poverty and
overcrowding, which are the two main characteristics that qualify it as a market
for child traffickers operating behind the scenes of international adoption.
According to a recent survey, India is third on the list of significant nations
that transfer their children for transnational adoption to other nations. It is
interesting to learn how child trafficking is carried out in disguise in place
of the current rules governing this phenomenon because the diversity of the
country results in a number of personal laws governing its residents.
Under the rules of international adoption, any individual or couple may
legitimately adopt a child who is a citizen of another nation. A citizen of
India who is considering adoption overseas must also meet the standards of that
country in addition to the eligibility requirements in India. A network of
adoptions, or an adoption itself, is said to have value when it satisfies the
requirement of treating each member of the triad fairly and giving them their
"due," according to professor D. M. Smolin. Adoption loses its positive
attributes and changes into an evil that often hurts the child by victimizing or
Thereby stating that:
"Intercountry adoption is neither an inherent good nor an inherent evil but
rather it is a potential or conditional good", meaning that if this is done by
following due legal processes and actually stands up for its purpose, it is a
potentially good and the moment it turns towards illicit trafficking of
children, it becomes an evil which needs to be eradicated as soon as possible.
The Hague Convention safeguards the adopted kid's best interests and prohibits
illegitimate or irregular adoptions in order to protect the child and the family
at all costs. To do this, it has specified certain roles, responsibilities, and
procedures for foreign adoptions. It demands permission by stating that there is
no payment or other sort of value involved.
The Convention states that anybody who consents to an adoption, such as natural
parents, must also be "duly informed" about the adoption's potential to "result
in the termination of the legal link between the child and his or her family of
In order to avoid birth parents being tricked into signing legal documents they
do not understand, the Convention was created and ratified the Hague Convention
in 2003 and joined the Hague Conference formally in the same time. If an NRI,
OCI, or foreign prospective adoptive parent want to adopt a child from India,
the Indian laws must be adhered to.
In Re Rasiklal Chhaganlal Mehta, a 1986 case involving a German couple
who had converted to Hinduism and planned to adopt an orphan girl and bring her
to Germany, the idea of international adoption and its legitimacy were first
brought up. Intercountry adoption was determined to be legitimate under Section
9(4) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, and the court outlined the
requirements that must be met to obtain permission to do so, including that the
foreign country's laws must permit the practise. This is important because many
nations, including Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa,
have outright prohibited such adoption from occurring.
On June 28, 1990, the Central Adoption Resource Agency was founded under the
Ministry of Women and Child Development to handle domestic and foreign adoption
The social or child welfare agency in the foreign country then submits all
applications from foreigners looking to adopt Indian children to CARA, who then
passes them to one of the recognised social or child welfare agencies in the
country. Children who are available for international adoption are listed on
CARA's website. Orphans, children who have been abandoned, and kids who have
been given to a reputable adoption agency are the three types of kids it
Foreign couples seeking to adopt children in India must be sponsored by a social
organisation in their own nation or a child welfare organisation that has
received government approval, according to CARA laws. If there isn't a central
authority or authorised foreign adoption agency in that country, the couple
should contact the relevant government department or Indian diplomatic mission
there. The adoptive parents are required to register with CARA and abide by the
rules established by the organisation.
In the case of Smt. Anokha v. State of Rajasthan, an Italian couple and Anokha,
the widow of the dead husband who had served as the couple's driver for 20
years, adopted a child from each other. The guardianship in this case was
rejected because there was no recognised Italian organisation for child welfare
to sponsor it, and because the central Indian government had not issued a "no
objection certificate" (NOC).
The Lakshmikant Pandey case was cited by the High Court when approving the
adoption because it stated that in situations when children were still living
with their birth parents, "the right persons to select whether to transfer their
children in adoption to foreign parents is the natural parent."
Numerous social evils, such as child trafficking, hide behind the cover of
international adoption. The present intercountry adoption system identifies
criminals as unlicensed individuals who regularly kidnap children, whether they
are orphans or children abducted by their biological parents, by enticing them
with money or threatening them.
The majority of the victims are children who have been abandoned, killed, placed
in abhorrent institutions, or who are homeless, and they are exploited for
labour or commercial sex by using the adoption and legal systems' formal
procedures to carry out child trafficking.
The claim that multiple cases, like Lakshmikant Pandey, have brought attention
to this issue is supported by the Delhi High Court's recent order stopping an
orphanage in Uttar Pradesh from improperly giving third parties access to a
child who was matched for adoption internationally.
What actually makes India such a market? It is the population and poverty, since
developing countries like India tries to send more of orphans in adoption to
another country in order to provide them with a good life cross-border. But when
this does not work out, the child either is left to wander out of post-adoption
negligence, abused, or sexually and physically exploited by human trafficking
The Andhra Pradesh scandals, which occurred between 1995 and 2001 and involved
multiple organisations habitually sending out scouts to recruit female
youngsters from weak, underprivileged families, adequately demonstrate the
presence of this evil.
The children's identities were changed on purpose, and phoney documents were
created. These dishonest Indian institutions worked with gullible adoption
agencies from various sending nations to pass off a huge number of kidnapped
children as "orphans" before they were adopted. In the infamous 2005 ruling, the
first criminal conviction in such a scandalous case was granted.
All of these examples demonstrate how children from impoverished families in
developing countries are purchased, stolen from, or abducted in order to be sold
to adoptive families in wealthy countries, reinforcing claims that adoption is
being misrepresented as baby selling. Due to the legal flaws, these baby selling
incidents happen frequently and consistently. These unethical adoption practises
are not new and have existed for a very long time. The problems with
international adoption and child trafficking are systemic and persistent, not
singular or occasional.
The 118th Report on Review of Guardianship and Adoption Laws, submitted in
Parliament, is concerned about the current paradoxical situation where there is
a high demand from parents to adopt children and another where statistical data
by CARA shows a declining number of adoptions taking place, hinting towards the
illegal child adoption market and trafficking. This is because the number of
children taken in inter-country adoption decreased from 628 in 2010 to 417 in
As the number of international adoptions has increased in the country, continual
court review has resulted in the creation of several standards and, as a result,
legislation specifically managing this occurrence. As a result, the Indian
government has added more layers of regulation to the core procedures, building
upon the Guardians and Wards Act of 1890 and the HAMA, the personal laws
governing the residents.
An international adoption typically doesn't take place until it has received the
organisations responsible for the Indian, foreign, CARA, examining, and local
adoptions' universal permission. However, there are still ways in which young
kids are harmed, trafficked, and forced into prostitution.
Child trafficking is a serious violation of human rights that must be eradicated
by society and the law whenever it occurs, especially in voiceless, vulnerable
families in impoverished countries, or these kidnapped children would never know
the pain of their origins. Only after the legislation, society, and
transnational adoption system have all been altered will the conditions be
created for intercountry adoption to flourish as a good. Therefore, stricter
rules are desperately needed to control the situation, along with attentive
measures to stop child abuse.
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