Monday, March 12, 2007
Adoption Racket Thriving in Nepal
On Friday, Nepali Times weekly carried a shocking investigative report on child adoption racket thriving in Nepal. The report by Anagha Neelakantan titled "On Sale" says:
Nepal’s exports are down, tourism is still stagnant but the international adoption business is booming. Children are often put up for adoption without their parents’ knowledge or consent. The racket thrives in part because there are no laws governing financial transactions in the process. In addition to hefty ‘donations’ to orphanages and financial support for the upkeep of their ‘allotted’ child while they wait for their file to be processed, parents also pay hefty sums to ‘facilitators’ or agencies in Nepal and back home. The whole shady business is lubricated with bribes to offices and individuals.
On Saturday, Kantipur, Nepal's largest daily newspaper carried the same report. On the one hand, an international conference on adoption was taking place in Kathmandu which was inaugurated by Minister for Child and Woman Urmila Aryal; on the other hand, the rampant sale of destitute children (brought to Kathmandu by NGOS from remote areas of Nepal) was going unabated. As Kantipur Daily ran an anchor story, the issue was aptly highlighted, forcing the minister to vow to take action against the racketeers.
But, the credit for undertaking vigorous research goes to two brilliant reporters of Nepal's leading newsmagazines. Kiran Bhandari of Samaya weekly had done a number of cover stories in this issue more than two years back. Then, my colleague Saroj Raj Adhikari did an in-depth report on it which was published in September 17 (2006) issue of Nepal Magazine. Later, Saroj shared with me the travails he faced during the journey.He traveled all the way to remote Humla district to carry out the investigation. I congratualted him for the superb investigative story. But, due to the lack of influences of magazine in Nepal, this serious issue that demanded urgent action was treated as just another regular headline.
I don't have much to add as these scribes have done a very good job. However, few points are worth mentioning.
The above scan is an ad published on March 6 2007 on government owned Gorkhapatra daily. It asks the parents of three-year-old Soni and one-month-old Supriya to come and claim their child. One Buddhist Child Home of Jorpati has mentioned that if no one comes to claim them as their child, the NGO will proceed for the adoption. I'm not blaming this NGO. Their intention may well be genuine. But, this is how the racketing begins. One: the parents may not necessarily read the daily. Two: this could be happening after getting the consent from the parents. This is a trick for paving the way for the legal procedure. In a poverty-stricken country like Nepal, parents may well be ready to sale their kids. One: hoping for the well-being of their kids; that they will get quality education and thereby quality life in a Western country. Second: they may have been lured by the false promises and the money from the traffickers. This is how the ugly trade of innocent ones is going on right under the nose of government agencies. While googling, I found an interesting Web site originally run to promote tourism in Nepal. It tries to attract tourists by mentioning how easily one can adopt child in Nepal. This is simply disgusting. Also check out this discussion on BBC about adoption in Nepal.