Adopted from South Korea reports Norway for human trafficking
18 May 2023

On Sunday, VG revealed illegal adoptions from South Korea. On Monday, adoptee Uma Feed (40) reported the state and the adoption broker Verdens barn for human trafficking and knowledge of document forgery.

On Monday afternoon, adoptee Uma Feed reported the Norwegian state for illegal adoption practices.

The report follows VG's revelations about illegal adoptions from South Korea to Norway.

After several years of searching, Feed (40) has recently found his biological parents in South Korea. The answer came when she got a hit in a DNA database .

The parents in South Korea have said that they did not know that their daughter had been adopted away, and that they had been looking for her since she was ten days old.

Both the name, the date of birth and the parents' marital status in the adoption papers with which she came to Norway are incorrect.

- Now I have proof that my own adoption is illegal. The adoption would never have been possible if the Norwegian state and World's Children had not engaged in illegal practices, says Feed to VG.

Known for cheating

Uma Feed believes that the Ministry of Children and Families and the adoption broker Verdens Barn are guilty of violating UN human rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Hague Convention .

She believes they have helped to enable human trafficking and kidnapping, by knowing that adoption papers were falsified, without doing anything about it.

VG has revealed that the papers of children who came from South Korea to Norway were systematically cheated , so that the children were listed as orphans even though their mothers were alive.

Minister Toppe has said that the fact that the Norwegian authorities have been aware of the practice since 1996 is "unforgivable" , and calls it "human trafficking".

- What Feed has found out about self-adoption is serious and shocking, writes Toppe to VG in an e-mail.

The Ministry of Children and Families says they are not aware of the report itself other than through the media, but that they are taking note of it.

- The government has decided that there will be an external investigation into foreign adoption. Among other things, the committee will look at whether the authorities have had good enough control and follow-up of the adoption field, and whether there is reason to believe that illegalities have occurred, says Toppe to VG, and reminds that an investigation of the adoption field is also taking place in South Korea.

Adoption intermediary: Does not comment

VG has asked the adoption agent Verdens Barn, through which Uma Feed was adopted, if they would like to comment on the review. On a general basis, they write:

"Verdens Barn will, as always, cooperate with all relevant agencies in such cases, and contribute to clarifying the facts to the extent that we have documentation in the individual case."

They still say that it is not possible for them to comment on individual cases, and that it is the Directorate for Children, Youth and Families (Bufdir) that you must contact for information on individual adoption cases.

Law professor: – Interesting

Oslo Police District confirms that they have received the report.

"We will look at the case and make an assessment of how it is handled", they write to VG.

Feed's review sheds light on an interesting issue, but it can be difficult to reach, says law professor at the Department of Private Law (UiO), Hans Petter Graver, to VG.

- The challenge is that criminal liability may be out of date. Kidnapping, which is punished as deprivation of liberty, has a limitation period of 10 years from when the act was committed, while the limitation period for human trafficking is 10 years from the victim turning 18.

Another problem is that there was no criminal law on human trafficking 40 years ago, and the provision cannot be given retroactive effect, Graver explains.

Cases about compensation and restitution for human trafficking also become obsolete over time, says the law professor. He nevertheless says that there can be exceptions in cases where the child was under 18 years of age.

- I would say that the violation they and their parents have been subjected to is very serious. But human rights basically presuppose that it is a state that has directly or indirectly violated them, says Graver.

- Here they have basically been victims of very serious crime. But that does not automatically mean that they have been subjected to a human rights violation. It assumes that either Korea or Norway has not given them the protection to which they are entitled.

Asking for an immediate stoppage of adoption

After VG's revelations, Minister for Children and Families Kjersti Toppe stated that we can no longer rule out that illegal adoption to Norway has been very extensive .

Toppe already promised an investigation in January , but neither the mandate nor who will sit on the committee is yet clear .

- I want to bring to light what has happened in the adoption field, and therefore we are now launching an external investigation. The investigation is extensive and will take place under external auspices, and include adoptions not only from South Korea, Toppe writes.

- I have not been advised to stop foreign adoptions until now. If the external investigation receives information that can speak for it, or if new information about the adoption system comes to light today, it will be reassessed, Toppe writes to VG in an e-mail.

When Uma Feed now reviews, she hopes to finally see tangible consequences of the revelations that have come.

- When a minister can admit human trafficking and the system that ensures it is not immediately stopped, yes, that says something about the legal security of those affected, Feed tells VG.