Seven Charged in Baby Traffic Ring
HANOI, Vietnam Seven Charged in Baby Traffic Ring
By Associated Press
November 23, 2001, 6:02 AM EST
HANOI, Vietnam -- Vietnamese prosecutors have charged seven people with helping a baby trafficking ring that sold 39 infants to foreigners for adoption, an official said Friday.
Six of the people were charged with baby trafficking, while a former police officer was accused of taking bribes to tamper with evidence, the official in Ho Chi Minh City's prosecutor's office said.
Police also issued an arrest warrant for one defendant who is still at large, the official said.
The Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper said the ring bought the 39 babies from impoverished families for about $400 to $650 each and sold them for adoption to foreigners for several thousand dollars each in 1996-98.
The trial should have begun in 1998, but was put on hold when one defendant accused a police officer of accepting a bribe of $1,060 and a mobile phone worth $430 to alter evidence.
Police initially investigated 16 people in the case, but later dropped their probe of eight because their offenses did not constitute crimes.
Last year, courts in the southern province of An Giang and northern province of Ninh Binh sentenced 21 people, including local government officials, to jail terms of up to 20 years for involvement in separate cases of child trading for foreign adoption.
Over the last decade, more than 10,000 Vietnamese children have been adopted by foreigners.
The government banned all foreign private organizations from acting as mediators for foreign adoptions in August. It is working on a decree that would allow only foreigners from countries which have special adoption agreements with Vietnam to adopt Vietnamese children.
Copyright 2001 Associated Press