Child trafficking trial adjourned
Associated Press Archive
Dateline: HANOI, Vietnam
A Vietnamese judge has halted the trial of 11 people charged with child trafficking and bribery in connection with foreign adoptions.
The presiding judge in An Giang province ordered further investigation into the case, an official said today. No date for a retrial has been set.
He said the defendants denied the charges, saying they only carried out adoptions on a humanitarian basis.
The defendants include former officials of the Long Xuyen nurturing center for orphans and the elderly, the provincial Justice Department, the provincial hospital and adoption brokers.
They were accused of selling 199 children for adoption over three years until the case was uncovered in late 1997. Residents of France, the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Austria and Belgium reportedly paid about $2,000 per child.
The children were adopted even though they had parents or other close relatives who had not given the required written approval, press reports have said.
Local press have reported that the ring, allegedly masterminded by Le Quoc Binh and Ung Thi Ngoc Hoa, had illegally earned $73,000.
Binh and Hoa and some other brokers allegedly solicited children from destitute families and unwed mothers, paying $36 to $50 per child.