Rise in baby traf­fick­ing in In­dia cuts adop­tion rates

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

An in­crease in baby traf­fick­ing in In­dia is re­duc­ing the num­ber of chil­dren avail­able for adop­tion and fu­elling the lu­cra­tive trade as more cou­ples wait to adopt, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day. Gov­ern­ment fig­ures show cur­rently 1,700 chil­dren are avail­able for adop­tion in In­dia, the world’s sec­ond most pop­u­lous coun­try with 1.25 bil­lion peo­ple, while some 12,400 fam­i­lies want to adopt. About 3,010 ba­bies were adopted in 2015/16.

Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials over­see­ing adop­tions said an in­creas­ingly long wait to adopt was closely linked to a rise in hu­man traf­fick­ing in the coun­try, with two baby sell­ing rack­ets busted in In­dia over the past two months.. “There are more such rack­ets (of baby traf­fick­ing),” said Deepak Ku­mar, chief of the Cen­tral Adop­tion Re­source Author­ity (CARA), In­dia’s main body to mon­i­tor and reg­u­late adop­tions. “In In­dia, we ex­pect the pool of chil­dren avail­able for adop­tion should out­num­ber the num­ber of wait­listed par­ents, but there are touts and in some cases even agen­cies that sell chil­dren to child­less cou­ples.”

Un­der In­dian laws chil­dren who have been sur­ren­dered by their birth par­ents or brought in by the po­lice are de­clared le­gally free for adop­tion af­ter var­i­ous le­gal pro­cesses are com­pleted. This in­cludes giv­ing birth par­ents up to 60 days to re­con­sider their de­ci­sion. To en­sure trans­parency, the adop­tion process in In­dia went on­line last year with wait­listed fam­i­lies and the chil­dren avail­able for adop­tion fea­tured on a web­site. But Ku­mar said traf­fick­ers of­ten tried to get hold of th­ese ba­bies be­fore the par­ents - of­ten un­wed moth­ers - made it to the gov­ern­ment depart­ment to sur­ren­der the child.

Last week, po­lice in Mum­bai ar­rested a gang that was con­vinc­ing sin­gle moth­ers - who can face so­cial stigma or os­tra­ciza­tion in In­dia - to part with their ba­bies then sell­ing them to child­less cou­ples in var­i­ous states across the coun­try. In West Ben­gal, po­lice found ba­bies were be­ing stolen from women who de­liv­ered at clin­ics, with me­dial staff telling them their child was still­born. Some were even given the bod­ies of still­born ba­bies pre­served by the clin­ics to dupe them.

Of­fi­cials said mon­i­tor­ing the wait­ing list for adop­tions was one way to try to iden­tify and track down the traf­fick­ers but they were aware that “by­pass mech­a­nisms” were tak­ing root. One adop­tion agency owner, who did not wish to be iden­ti­fied, said he of­ten re­ceived calls from wait­listed fam­i­lies say­ing they had been of­fered a child from an un­wed mother at a price and won­der if they should go ahead. Two agen­cies in the west­ern state of Ma­ha­rash­tra were re­cently shut down for sell­ing ba­bies for amounts rang­ing be­tween 200,000 and 600,000 ru­pees ($3,000-$9,000), Ku­mar said. Adop­tion ex­perts sug­gested that prob­lem ar­eas of the coun­try should be iden­ti­fied. “It would help check the malaise if low adop­tion fig­ures in cer­tain states of In­dia are an­a­lyzed,” said Su­nil Arora, pres­i­dent of the Fed­er­a­tion of Adop­tive Agen­cies.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.