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illegally adopted and abused: report
McPherson, Radio Australia 18th March 2011
Children in Cambodian
and Vietnamese orphanages are being abused and adopted illegally, says a
Richard Bridle, UNICEF Representative to Cambodia, says there is
insufficient regulation and inspection of orphanages in these countries.
"The number of children in orphanages has doubled from 2005 -
2010," he said.
"There's approximately 12,000 children in these institutions today,
of which less than one third are actual orphans."
"There have been cases proven in court of abuse of children in
those orphanages and we have fairly substantial anecdotal evidence of
identities being falsified and children being offered into illegal
The United States is working to re-introduce inter-continental adoption
of Cambodian and Vietnamese children, but Mr Bridle says the country is
yet to meet global adoption standards.
Inter-continental adoptions were suspended in 2001 due to concerns of
fraud and the inhumane buying and selling of children.
Dr Diane Coones, head of the Centre for Adoption in US says she is not
happy with this law.
"We would hope there would be a more nuanced response that would
allow proper adoptions to go through and adoptions that are not proper
to be stopped, rather than wholesale shutting down of countries to leave
children to be in care or even worse," she said.
But Mr Bridle says it is important to focus on alternatives to
inter-continental adoption so the number of children in orphanages can
"Family and community solutions need to be focused on as an
alternative to adoption," he said.
"[Orphanages] are being used as a means of placing children from
families in acute poverty as a temporary coping measure or as a good
opportunity to have their children educated."
"We should not re-enter a situation we've had in the past where
families are coming and offering money for kids and in essence buying
The US Special Adviser to the Office of Children's Issues is meeting
with Cambodian and Vietnamese officials next week to discuss progress
made to comply with international obligations.
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is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are
and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there
is a hollow yearning . . . and the most disquieting
Alex Haley, Author of Roots