Both countries are relatively untapped markets for U.S. adoption agencies. It’s almost instinctive to think that in countries where so few children are sent abroad for adoption and where child welfare needs presumably are great, only true orphans will be processed. But it is also a truism that where international adoption and high fees are at the ready, trafficking proliferates.
In Zambia, recent reports announce a scam in which children were flown out of Zambia without following proper adoption procedures. According to Community and Social Welfare Minister, Catherin Namugala, several children have been withdrawn from American nationals because their adoptions were not legally binding; over 17 children have already been adopted and taken out of the country without the consent of the government.
According to one report, Namugala
emphasized that her ministry was not against the adoption of children but the manner in which it was done and appealed to those wishing to adopt children to follow the right procedure. The minister said it was shocking that some orphanages were busy arranging the adoption of children at a fee disregarding the laws of the land.Profit at the expense of the welfare of children and their families.
Reports are also coming out of Kenya of a child trafficking ring busted in Bomet. Approximately eleven children who were destined for “ready markets” were rescued from traffickers. The children were allegedly sold for between Sh20,000 (approximately $300 USD) and Sh30,000 (approximately $450 USD) depending on their age. At least seven have been arrested in connection with the investigation.
An administrator in the area is reported to have said,
“The law is clear on adoption. People should follow right channels of looking for children instead of fueling the illegal trade.”Two different countries, two common themes: Despite clear adoption laws, the laws are not followed, resulting in a trade in children for profit.
Simply relying on agencies alone to be familiar with a country’s laws AND TO FOLLOW THEM is not enough. Regardless of shelling out thousands of dollars for "full service," prospective adopters must independently research a country’s adoption laws and be wary of being offered shortcuts. Blind trust risks breaking many hearts.
U.S. Statement Department Intercountry Adoption Summary for Zambia, U.S. Department of State website, last visited August 23, 2007
U.S. State Department Intercountry Adoption Summary for Kenya, U.S. Department of State website, last visited August 23, 2007
Namibia: Zambia Smashes Adoption Scam, The Namibian (reported on allafrica.com), August 13, 2007
Zambia smashes scam illegally adopting children, People's Daily Online, August 12, 2007
Kenya: Police Rescue 11 Minors From Traffickers in Bomet, East African Standard (reported on allafrica.com), August 17, 2007
Kenya: Child Trade Ring Couple Held, The Nation (reported on allafrica.com), August 2, 2007