Australia to return 'abducted' children?

Date: 2008-08-25

Australia to return 'abducted' children?

August 25, 2008

Picture of an illfated child reportedly a victim of an adoption racket (attached below)

Three years after an illegal adoption racket was busted in Tamil Nadu, in which some of the missing children were  traced to foster homes in Australia, the authorities in Australia are debated whether the children should be given back to their parents in India.

Reaction to the case, the Australian High Commission told TIMES NOW that they will look into the matter.

"This is a very serious issue. We are aware of the allegations relating to the company involved. It is for the Australian Attorney General and his department," top diplomats int eh Australian High Commission said.

At least 30 children adopted from India by Australian families may have been kidnapped and sold by child traffickers. A TIME magazine investigation now says 13 of these children are in Australia. The investigation, published this weekend, claims kidnappers stole children from poor neighbourhoods in southern India and sold them to an adoption agency in Malaysia called the Malaysian Social Services for Australian dollar 265 each.

Meanwhile, the Indian High Commission in Canberra said that they will investigate the case and 'establish facts'. "We have to establish the fact. The process has to be completed," officials of the Indian High Commission in Canaberra said.

The Indian government has also called for a through investigation into the adoption racket, sources said.  An 'appropriate' decion will be taken, keeping the best interest of the children, government sources added.

Earlier, the Australian Attorney General Robert McClelland told TIME magazine that the government was treating the allegations seriously. "I am aware of allegations regarding child trafficking and share concerns for the safety of children adopted from overseas. I have asked my department to make direct contact with the Indian authorities and provide me with a brief on any potential legal issues arising in India and Australia."

The police, which had busted the case in 2005 handed over the same to the Central Bureau of Investigation in 2006. The CBI on its part is investigating three cases - in Australia, Netherlands, and the United States.

The TIME expose has stirred up a huge debate in Australia. The Australian opposition leader said that if these children were indeed kidnapped, it would be morally right to hand them back to their parents back in India.

Meanwhile, in India, the parents who have been the victim of the adoption racket are hoping to get their child back. Speaking to TIMES NOW, Fathima -- mother of a kidnapped child said, "I want to see my child. It is very difficult for me. I have not seen my child for 11 years. I request the police to and government to help me. I just want to see my child once."

Time-line of the adoption racket

1998-99: The children were kidnapped and sold to the adoption agencies. People from Australia, Netherlands and the US adopted these children.

2005: The Tamil Nadu police bust the racket.

2006: Case handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

2008: CBI approaches the Australian authorities to track the cases of 30 missing children.


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