An new initiative by the Chinese government to try to find the homes of stolen and trafficked children was in the news this week (see “Chinese crackdown nets thousands of ‘stolen’ children“). The news is about the creation of a website, named “Baby Look For Home.” You can find it at http://www.mps.gov.cn/n16/n983040/n1928424/index.html.
As the newpaper article states:
“Many, if not most cases are not formally listed because local police are unwilling or unable to investigate crimes that usually involve crossing provincial borders. As well, many of the parents think police might be complicit in the kidnappings. It is a lucrative business that can net about $4,000 for each boy sold and about $1,000 per girl… The abducted children are mostly boys and are sold to families who want a son. The girls are often sold into marriage or to agencies that arrange foreign adoptions.”
The sale of children within China has made the news as far back as 2001 (see “China’s Baby Traffickers“) and kidnapping since 2006 (see “Stealing Babies for Adoption“) Despite this sordid history,China is lauded as having an “ethical” international adoption system that prospective adopters can have confidence in:
“For a family looking to adopt from the most ethical country, China is the best choice. They are highly regulated and have increasingly good orphanage conditions” (Thome, 2007)
But, given China’s history of not enforcing laws against the sale of children within China, how is any Westerner able to guarantee that the child they are adopting from China is not stolen? From the above quote, it appears that little girls in China, those same girls that are supposedly abandoned, are selling for up to $1000: not exactly a price that would be charged if there were a surplus of “product” on the market.
But agencies and orphanages stand to make a lot of money on each transaction, so unfortunately they have a financial incentive to hide this information from “clients.” (Perhap more “ethical” adoptions ( an oxymoron?) will only occur once no-one’s paycheque depends upon the transaction being made, where there is no financial incentive to kidnap, abduct, or coerce.)
“Mr. Peng … said some of the girls were sold to orphanages. They … often end up in the United States or Europe after adoptive parents pay fees to orphanages that average $5,000.” (New York Times, April 4, 2009).
Anyway, I wonder if this new website may be able to serve those who have adopted a child from China and wonder if that child has been abducted? Many people adopted children from China, trusting in the assurances of baby brokers whom they now realize may have been lying or omitting the truth, and some of them now want to search, to find their child’s natural parents and discover if that child really was abandoned, or whether the child was kidnapped or the parents were coerced to surrender. Maybe a photo-listing of that child on “Baby Look for Home” may be at least provide a small chance of finding the child’s natural parents and the truth? I wonder if the Chinese government would cooperate?