Black People : The International Trade in Human Infants

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Ankhur, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Oct 4, 2009
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    owner of various real estate concerns

    Published on Wednesday, December 22, 2010 by Foreign Policy in Focus/World Beat
    The Baby Trade
    by John Feffer

    .... the global baby trade is a market. Adoptive families pay a lot of money – to the sending country, adoption agencies, and lawyers. For many years, South Korea was the leading sending country, and the hard currency it earned from international adoptions helped the country recover from the Korean War's devastation.

    Like any market, the unscrupulous find plenty of ways to make money. A child-buying scandal that erupted in Cambodia about 10 years ago drew [2] wide media coverage. The European Union pressured Romania to place a ban on international adoptions, largely as a result of a report to the European Parliament by Lady Emma Nicholson. "Impoverished families were coerced and deceived into giving up their children who were then effectively sold on to Western couples under the guise of international adoption," Nicholson argued [3] in a 2004 Guardian article.

    Guatemala, once the largest per-capita source of adopted children, sent one out of every 100 live births [4] to families abroad. The government instituted a two-year moratorium on international adoptions in 2007 and found evidence [5] that the rumors of baby-snatching were true. These abuses come on top of revelations [6] that the army abducted at least 333 children during Guatemala's "dirty war," sometimes even killing the parents to deliver the children to government-run orphanages for foreign adoption.

    The global adoption trade fluctuates not simply as a result of wars, natural disasters, and economic adversity. In 1990, even though by then a major developed economy, South Korea was still the largest sender country [7] for U.S. adoptions. In South Korea, there has long been a stigma attached to children born out of wedlock or to ethnically mixed parents. In China, meanwhile, the one-child policy – and the cultural preference for male babies – pushed thousands of little girls into the baby trade and propelled China into the No. 1 spot for sending countries even as the Chinese economy expanded.

    The baby market is subject to the same neocolonial distortions that affect other commodities. Imagine a couple from Vietnam visiting the United States to adopt a white baby because they want to give the child a more spiritually rich life and save it from an existence poisoned by Wii, reality TV, and KFC. With rare exceptions, it's the poor countries that supply babies to the rich countries.

    Sometimes, the rich just swoop in and take from the poor. In Sierra Leone, after the widespread amputations that took place during the civil war, some staff of U.S. charities persuaded amputee parents to give up their amputee children for adoption "in a manner that seemed to combine aspects of bribery and kidnapping," writes [8] Philip Gourevitch in The New Yorker. After Haiti's earthquake, the New Life Children's Refuge attempted to transport 33 alleged orphans out of the country to place with American parents. Not only did the transfer qualify as smuggling, since the Baptist activists didn't acquire any documentation from the Haitian side, but one-third of the children weren't even orphans [9]. One child thought she was going to a summer camp.

    Legal scholar David Smolin prefers to speak of [10] "child laundering," a process by which "the current intercountry adoption system frequently takes children illegally from birth parents, and then uses the official processes of the adoption and legal systems to 'launder' them as 'legally' adopted children." Smolin knows from personal experience. He and his wife adopted two adolescent girls from India only to discover that they'd been essentially stolen [11] from their birth family.

    For the most part we try to do everything possible to obscure the fact that international adoption is a market. Adoption agencies paint a pretty picture of children saved and adoptive families enriched. Much of this is true. The international adoption business has certainly saved children from poverty, stigmatization, and even death. It has created thousands of hybrid families that are just as happy, sad, and complicated as any other family. But it's still a business, which suffers from all the problems of a business (and then some).

    Sometimes the commodity nature of the process becomes impossible to miss. Earlier this year, a Tennessee woman put [12] her adopted 7-year-old unaccompanied on a plane back to Russia with a note that read "I no longer wish to parent this child" – just like he were a piece of defective merchandise that she could send back to the manufacturer.