Fresh cases of illegal child adoption from India surface

Friday, 24 January 2014 – 7:18pm IST | Place: Sydney | Agency: IANS

A child rights group has alleged that there is fresh evidence of Indian children being trafficked for adoption to Australia in the past 12 months.

A child rights group has alleged that there is fresh evidence of Indian children being trafficked for adoption to Australia in the past 12 months.

Arun Dohle, a researcher at the Netherlands-based organisation, Against Child Trafficking (ACT), said potentially dozens of Indian children had been trafficked to Australia under the previous inter-country adoption programme that ended in 2010, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Friday.

The ACT cautioned against ramping up overseas adoptions until existing cases of Indian children being trafficked under previous adoption programmes have been resolved.

Dohle said that one case involved a girl, who was old enough at the time of adoption to know that her parents were against her adoption.

“She is now an adult and is seeking her biological parents, who we believe did not give consent,” he said.

In the second case, a child was adopted after her mother reportedly left a train in India briefly to get something but was unable to get back before the train left.

Dohle said the child was allegedly taken to an adoption agency from the next station and sent to Australia.

In the third case, a street child was adopted without proper attempts being made to find the parents.

Dohle said all three adoptions had been arranged through an Indian orphanage and adoption agency, Preet Mandir.

After allegations of corruption and adoption of children without proper paperwork, the adoption agency was shut down, he said.

However, the agency, which provided dozens of children for adoption in Australia, has denied any impropriety.

Dohle said that the ACT asked the Australian government in 2008 to recognise liability in adoption cases of kidnapped children.

“We never got a reply,” he said.

“I would now call for the Australian government to have a criminal investigation into how these children ended up here. They also need to assist those families who need investigations done to find out what happened to their children or for the children to find the parents,” Dohle added.

He said that the ACT is representing an Indian couple, Salya and Fatima, whose daughter was kidnapped, sold to another orphanage and sent for adoption to Australia after forging documents.

The biological parents are now fighting to get back their daughter but negotiations got stalled after both sides were unable to agree on the terms of contract.

A spokeswoman for Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that the government was committed to working with state and territory colleagues and stakeholders in the area of overseas adoption to solve the issue.

“We do not comment on specific cases,” the spokeswoman said.

Tarun Kumar, press officer for the Indian high commission in Canberra, said that Indian authorities were discussing the issue with Australian authorities.

Kumar, however, added that he was not aware about the new cases uncovered by the ACT.

Adoptions from India were halted by the government in October 2010 following allegations of complicity of Indian officials in illegal adoptions.