Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Illegal adoption

Chinese authorities have had some success in fighting illegal adoptions.  Photo: Joan VilaChina has a thriving domestic black market in children, mostly involving buyers who want them as slave labour. Most of the children are bought or kidnapped by gangs who force them into pick-pocketing and other non-violent crime in China's eastern cities. The children might also end up in a prostitution network or illegal adoption. According to a study by the University of Iowa, in November 2005, Chinese authorities uncovered a baby trafficking ring involving six orphanages and babies primarily from the southern part of the country. It is unclear how the children were obtained, but defendants claim the babies were abandoned or kidnapped.

In 2011, Chinese authorities arrested 370 persons and saved 89 children from being sold. Because of the “one child policy”, some Chinese parents abandoned their second child. Indeed, a family that has more than one child is fined and looses a lot of social benefits. Unfortunately abandon is a common practice. In the worst cases parents sell their second child to local officials who in turn, sell them to orphanages.

Another problem is kidnapping. Organisations estimate that about 60,000 children between the ages of 2 to 4 are kidnapped every year, often sold to orphanages and end up in American or European families. In 2006, 10,000 children were adopted from China, with 7,000 going to the United States. Adoptive parents usually pay around $15,000 to $20,000 to adopt a child. The big challenge for organisations is to know if adopted children were kidnapped or not. For some parents, it raised a nightmarish question: What if my child had been taken forcibly from their parents?

Though Chinese Government believes that birth control limits are essential for China to control an increasing population that will soar over the next 20 years, probably peaking at around 1.5 billion, it is aware of the situation and is ready to tighten adoption rules to combat child trafficking. Therefore, only orphanages will be able to offer abandoned infants and children for adoption, and adults who adopt without official registration will not be recognized as legal guardians. According to Ji Gang, the director of the domestic adoption department of the China Centre for Children's Welfare and Adoption, forcing people to go through official adoption channels will reduce the demand for abducted children.

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Linda Eriksson Baca on human trafficking in the European countries


Facts:

What is human trafficking?

•    An estimated 2.5 million people are in forced labour (including sexual exploitation) at any given time as a result of trafficking.
•    161 countries are reported to be affected by human trafficking by being a source, transit or destination country.
•    The majority of trafficking victims are between 18 and 24 years of age
•    An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked each year
•    Many trafficking victims have at least middle-level education
•    In 54% of cases the recruiter was a stranger to the victim, 46% of cases the recruiter was known to victim
•    Sexual exploitation is noted as by far the most commonly identified form of human trafficking (79%) followed by forced labour (18%).
•    Other forms of exploitation are: forced or bonded labour, domestic servitude, formed marriage, organ removal and the exploitation of children in begging, the sex trade and warfare
•    Estimated global annual profits made from the exploitation of all trafficked forced labour are US$ 31.6 billion
•    In 2006, there were only 5,808 prosecutions and 3,160 convictions throughout the world. This means that for every 800 people trafficked, only one person was convicted.
•    In 2011, the European Union adopted a Directive to prevent and combat trafficking in human beings and protect its victims.   

Sources:

International Labour Organization, Forced Labour Statistics Factsheet (2007)
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns (Vienna, 2006)
International Organization for Migration, Counter-Trafficking Database, 78 Countries, 1999-2006 (1999)
UNICEF, UK Child Trafficking Information Sheet (January 2003)
International Labour Organization, Forced Labour Statistics Factsheet (2007)  
International Organization for Migration, Counter-Trafficking Database, 78 Countries, 1999-2006 (1999)
International Organization for Migration, Counter-Trafficking Database, 78 Countries, 1999-2006 (1999)
Patrick Besler, Forced Labour and Human Trafficking: Estimating the Profits, working paper (Geneva, International
Labour Office, 2005)
US State Department, Trafficking in Persons Report (2007) p.36