Saturday, February 24, 2007

Corruption Item 5: Understand Fees Are Incentive

5) Be aware of the role that foreign fees and foreign/orphanage donations play in incentivizing the corrupt sourcing of childrenfor adoption

--Ask for accountings from agencies for foreign fees and donations.Foreign fees and donations are the grease and incentive for child trafficking. Make sure that agencies account for where the overseas money goes. You can do this whether you're done adopting or are just now adopting.

--Along these lines, find out the foreign exchange rate between your own currency and the sending country's currency. Find out how much your foreign fee represents in terms of local sending country currency. Seek to understand local economics enough to understand the purchasing power/local economic value of this amount. Think about whether this amount of money is reasonable for a "foreign fee"or "donation" or whether it represents undue incentive to attract unethical people or make normally ethical people consider unethical behavior.

--If the foreign fee or orphanage donation seems out-of-line,question the agency about it. If the fee violates applicable laws orprinciples, express your concerns, and ask for an explanation.

--Do not be shy about questioning agencies and authorities about their practices. Where there is honest behavior, questioning should not bring about defensiveness.

--Ask your agency if the orphanages with which they work provide an accounting of how fees and donations are used. (We saw with theGalindo case how easy it was to seemingly simply pocket orphanage donations because there was NO accounting for this money.) Where does the money go? Is the agency reasonably sure that all of the fee/donation is being used as it ought to be used? If so, why?

- If possible, try to understand approximately how much money it takes to run a comparable institution in the sending country. Roughly calculate how much money the orphanage is receiving per year(based on the number of placements times the fee/donation). Look at the facility and the care provided, compare it to others, compare it to the amount of money that's flowing in. Does it look like the money is being spent where you are told it's being spent?

--Network with others and share your concerns; keep in mind that sometimes all it takes to affect positive change is the knowledge that someone is watching and cares and will hold you accountable.

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