Stolen children adopted in Australia: Report

Date: 2008-08-24

Stolen children adopted in Australia: Report

August 24, 2008

sydney • The Australian government is investigating a media report that 13 Indian children may have been stolen from their parents as part of a child-trafficking network and brought to Australia for adoption. Time magazine reported yesterday that an Indian-based adoption agency renamed children and fabricated their histories, complete with photographs of fake mothers offering them for adoption. It said it had seen adoption agency documents for 13 such children. An Indian-based human rights lawyer told Time that an estimated 30 of the nearly 400 children brought to Australia in the last 10 to 15 years were trafficked. Australian Attorney-General Robert McClelland said he was aware child trafficking may have been involved in two adoption cases. His department was investigating the Time magazine report.

“At some stage there was child trafficking involved prior to them coming into contact with the agency involved in India,” McClelland told reporters. McClelland said he knew where one of the children was now living, but refused to disclose the location. He said Australia was no longer working with the Indian-based adoption agency in the Time report. Time magazine detailed one adoption case involving a nine-year-old girl from Chennai, who it said was stolen while her mother went to a market, and adopted in 2000 to a family in Australia’s tropical Queensland state. The Queensland state government said some adopted children in the state may have been the victims of the alleged child trafficking, reported local media. Queensland Child Safety Minister Margaret Keech said Adoption Services Queensland became aware of the allegations in 2007, the Australian Broadcasting Corp reported yesterday. Keech told Time that Adoption Services Queensland “will work very closely with federal and state agencies to investigate these claims”.

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