Modern Day Slavery: the reason Australia has stringent regs. re intercountry adoption

Denmark bans Nigeria adoptions after raid on suspected baby factory

“There have been several raids on supposed Nigerian baby factories since 2011, with more than 100 women discovered during such operations. Investigations by Nigeria’s anti-trafficking agency that year revealed that babies were being sold for up to $6,400 each.

Buyers tend to be couples who are unable to conceive, and boys typically fetch a much higher price than girls.

According to the EU, Nigeria is one of the biggest sources of people trafficked into Europe, where victims are often forced into prostitution.

Human trafficking is widespread in west Africa, where children are sometimes bought to work on plantations and in mines and factories, or as domestic help. Others are sold into sexual slavery or, less commonly, sacrificed in magic rituals”.


If there are millions and millions of children “waiting for adoption” there would be no need to set up “baby farms”.

Unfortunately Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness that he would make it “easier and quicker to adopt” from overseas. Never mind the consequences to the social fabric of local communities in those countries.  Loosening regulations around intercountry adoption  is exactly what the NSW Law Reform Commission warned Australia against in 1994 and again in 1997. The Commission stated that demand by Western countries, in particular comparatively wealthy infertile couples,  would increase trafficking and further  expand black markets in children.  In short Developing countries did NOT have enough children to meet demand and the money Westerners were willingly  to spend  on bringing an individual child  to Australia would have a dire effect on local communities in their country of origin.

Abbott stated: 

“There are millions of children in orphanages overseas who would love to have parents,” Mr Abbott said. “And thousands of those, maybe even tens of thousands of those could come to Australia.

“And we need to make it easier for that to happen.”

The truth is very different.

Excerpt from Parallels between Past Forced and Intercountry Adoption – under Links on the blog

The success of Furness’s publicity campaign hinges on the antithesis of what research has established: her claims that there are: “millions and millions of needy orphans,” all waiting “to be saved.”

Westerners have been sold the myth of a world orphan crisis. We are told that millions of children are waiting for their “forever families” to rescue them from lives of abandonment and abuse. But many of the infants and toddlers being adopted by Western parents today are not orphans at all. … the neediest children are sick, disabled, traumatized, or older than 5. They are not the healthy babies that most Westerners hope to adopt. There are simply not enough healthy, adoptable infants to meet Western demand—and there’s too much Western money in search of babies. As a result, many international adoption agencies work not to find homes for needy children but to find children for Western homes.[1]

In reality, there are very few young, healthy orphans in need of adoption. “It’s not really true that there are large numbers of infants with no homes who either will be in institutions or who need intercountry adoption,” says Alexandra Yuster, a senior adviser on child protection with UNICEF.

Graff states: “In 2006 UNICEF reported an estimated 132 million orphans in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. But the majority lost just one parent, either to desertion or death. Of those who lost both, most live with extended family—and are older than 5. UNICEF’s “millions of orphans” are not healthy babies doomed to institutional misery. Most are older children whose extended families and communities need support to care for them … One American who adopted a little girl from Cambodia in 2002 wept as she spoke at an adoption ethics conference in October 2007. ‘I was told she was an orphan,’ she said. ‘One year after she came home, and she could speak English well enough, she told me about her mommy and daddy and her brothers and her sisters.’”[2]

The orphan myth came about because of the broad criteria used by UNICEF to label a child an orphan.[3]   To rectify this misunderstanding UNICEF stated on its website: “Evidence clearly shows that the vast majority of ‘orphans’ are living with a surviving parent, grandparent, or other family members.”  Not understanding this has led to “responses that focus on providing care for individual children rather than supporting the families and communities that care for orphans and are in need of support.”[4] 

According to UNICEF there are 13 million orphans in the world.  Of which 95% are over 5 years old and live with a grandparent or other family member.   Hence only  5% = 650,000 orphans have lost both parents but even those are likely to live with a family member and very few of this number would be under 12 months old.[5]  Nigel Cantwell, a Geneva-based consultant on child protection policy, has helped reform corrupt adoption systems in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Asked how many healthy babies in those regions would be available for international adoption if money never exchanged hands, he replied: “I would hazard a guess at zero.”[6]


[1] Graff, E. J. (2008), The Lie We Love’ Foreign Policy, Nov-Dec

[2] Ibid

[3] Graff,, E. J. (2008).  The Problem with saving the World’s Orphans The Boston Globe Dec 11

[4] UNICEF Unite for Children Press Centre Accessed May 13, 2009

[5] UNICEF Press Centre, ‘Orphans’, Retrieved 10/11/2011 from

[6] Graff, E. J. (2008), The Lie We Love’ Foreign Policy, Nov-Dec

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For Bio info click on - About - tab and 'A bit about me' Dr. Christine A. Cole Convenor Apology Alliance Australia
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1 Response to Modern Day Slavery: the reason Australia has stringent regs. re intercountry adoption

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