Stoffelen Report on Trade in Children (CoE) - Doc 5777
1 January 1987

Over and above the debate as to how far

the very principle of international adoption is

valid, from the point of view of the interests of the

child, is the fact that, in practice, it is often true

that there is widespread and large-scale abuse.

Arranging international adoptions is a highly

lucrative business; the "adoptable" child is,

bluntly speaking, a commercial object that can

command a five-figure dollar price. In such circumstances,

the interests of the child are not even

a secondary consideration ; the profit motive leads

to recourse to intimidation and manipulation of

parents to give up their children for adoption, to

blatant kidnapping and to the exploitation of the

material poverty and ignorance of pregnant

mothers who are persuaded to "sign away" their

future babies in exchange for a few weeks' food

and shelter in the immediate pre-natal period. In

one documented case, a doctor was informing

mothers, who had just given birth, that their baby

was still-born or had died immediately after birth.

In fact he was selling the babies to an adoption

racket (the Amman Symposium, p. 34).


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