Date: 2004-05-20

To get millions of USD under the cover of charitable activities

The Vietnamese government has set a lot of regulations to prevent the 3rd media in taking advantage under the name of “charity” to get illegal benefits in bringing Vietnamese children for foreign adoption. But, nowadays these activities are happening more than ever. During the last six years, many agencies and foreign individuals are still implementing illegal business of children with the cooperation of many related offices and local individuals in collecting millions of dollars.

Investigator MANH QUAN – DONG HO

Article 1: Portrait of the “children trade”

One of the classic ways of those specializing in “hunting” children for foreigners is buy buying babies while still in the birth mothers’ belly. One event which has just been discovered recently showing the cruelty of a “top class children trade”: Ms. Le Thi Thuy Loan, a nurse of the Health center of Vinh Hai, who assisted the birth for Nguyen Thi Phuong, who was residing at the house of Mary Nguyen (an American citizen, director of the American Network Inc.), under difficult circumstances she gave her new born to Mary Nguyen for adoption. But, Mary Nguyen request Ms. Loan to help Mary certify a delivery document in order to make a birth certificate for the baby under the name of the birth mother, Mary Nguyen. Loan did this case because her younger sister was working for Mary Nguyen. Ms. Nguyen wrote an application for applying the birth certificate for the baby as follow: “My projects are proceeding in Khanh Vinh, Van Ninh Phu Yen and Quang Ngai. During the time living in Vietnam, I became pregnant. I had no time to go back to America, I delivered a baby girl in Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Province and named my baby, Rosemary Phuong Thuong Nguyen”. Thus, the baby has no chance to know who is her real birth mother and her mother will never be able to see her baby as well.

By many similar clever actions, as a representative of many humanitarian agencies such as WC. Inc., Life Adoption Services, Hope’s Promise, etc…in Vietnam since 1995, Mary Nguyen has placed 99 Vietnamese children to American families for adoption. She has been earning thousands of USD from each case. Hiding from the punishment of the Vietnamese law, she has been investigated by the American Justice Department with the crime for “evading taxes and placing illegal immigrants to America”. In the past, she was also expelled from Mexico for “trading of children”.

Recently, according to some sources of information in Ho Chi Minh City, there is a group of people who specialize in the buying and selling of babies. The head of this group is Pham Vu Dong. This guy hired two other people to find children with him. These two people usually would go by bicycle approaching health centers to find and buy babies. If the child has birth parents, they will convince the mother to sell her child with a certain amount of money (usually not under 10 million dong). When the mother has agreed, they will give her money as soon as she gives them a paper which is noted clearly that she agrees to give her baby for adoption because of being under difficult circumstances and desires a better future for her child.

Ms. Paula Frances Kelly, an officer of UNICEF in Vietnam, has told a case (hiding the real name of the character): “A woman living in HCMC has a cousin in America. Her cousin usually comes to Vietnam to go with her to the remote areas in the north and the plateau to find children, particularly with the very poor families to buy the newborn baby with 300 – 400 USD. After that, her cousin proceeded with the paper work and the other woman in Vietnam would finish the procedures. Her cousin went back to America and the American families would come over to Vietnam to receive the assigned children.”

A large number of the mothers were so dazzled by the money that sold their own child but they all were taken advantage of. In the end of the year 2000, a woman named Nguyen Thi Ly (residing in Phu Ninh District, Phu Tho) presented to the U.S. Embassy: “On 11/01/00, an agency with 5 people in a car came to my house and introduced that they were working for IMH, a humanitarian agency in Tu Liem, Hanoi and asked to buy my daughter, Nguyen Thi Thu Ha (DOB 10/03/00) with 46 million dong and gave me 2,5 million dong in advance. I received that money and was told that when my child Ha could go to Saigon or fly to America, they would pay the rest of the money. But until now, I have not received that money so, I proposed to the American Embassy to send back the dossier of my child because if I have not received the full amount of money as mentioned above I will not give my child up.”

As the above mentioned, we just talk about the “children hunter” in the outside communities. A large number of other children were brought abroad from the orphanages, nourishment centers for the orphaned and disabled children, etc…In this area, individuals cannot do themselves but there is a tight cooperation between them and the foreign agencies under the charitable names in Vietnam which will be mentioned in more detail in the next issue.

Manh Quan – Dong Ho


To get millions of USD under the cover of charitable activities


Article 2: Agencies taking part in the adoption market

(Pictures attached – Two Vietnamese and one Guatemalan child are “marketed” for foreign adoption.

According to the data of the authorities, at present, 34 out of 482 foreign non-governmental organizations (NGO) operating in Vietnam have been introducing and placing Vietnamese children for foreign adoption. There are about 36 other agencies that do not have a license in Vietnam and they are operating very strongly but illegally. According to Mr. Nguyen Quoc Cuong, Deputy Head of the division of the Ministry of Justice for Notary and Registry: “Because of the present adoption law of Vietnam has never allowed foreign agencies as well as incountry agencies to introduce and place children to go abroad, these agencies dodge the law by carrying out the aid projects for the difficult children at the orphanages, the centers for nourish for the orphaned and disabled children, etc… in order to be issued the license for operation in Vietnam.” Mr. Cuong also assumed that “The estimated number of agencies who take part in buying and selling children is several.”

After being issued a license for that humanitarian project, the sponsored and charitable centers were built and the project owners would cooperate with the board of directors of the centers. They would then lead their staff to go to the hospitals and bring the issue for taking the abandoned children to these centers or to find out unexpected pregnant women and convince they will help shelter them, receive some money and help to deliver. Many project owners hire people to collect the children in the communities to put in the orphanages. When having a certain number of children in the center (during this time, the children are nurtured at the centers for “plumping them up”), the NGO will begin to introduce and place the children to go abroad. Normally, the foreign families who desire to adopt the Vietnamese children have to pay agency fees averaging from 12,000 to 14,000 USD. Besides this, the families have to pay for the expense of traveling to Vietnam, accommodations, and transportation during the time to complete the adoption procedures approximately another 20,000 USD.

A recent case, Ms. H.M.D, a Vietnamese overseas who is has an American citizenship, has gone with another person named T.D and placed 49 orphaned children in Vung Tau and 10 children from Dak Lak to American families for adoption through the projects of the non-governmental organization CHILDREN HOPE INTERNATIONAL (CHI) in Vietnam. Each American family who wants to go through CHI to adopt a Vietnamese child has to pay the fee of 14,000 USD/child. When finding a new child for CHI, Ñ and D would receive a big sum of money. According to a report of an authority: “CHI was established under the cover of humanitarian aid and protection for the orphaned children but this organization just focuses on introducing children for foreign adoption. The sponsored project of this organization in Vung Tau is only temporary; the support is a very small amount of money in order to collect any orphaned and abandoned children in various hospitals. In actuality, CHI activity is a baby business hiding under the cover of doing “charity” in order to trade the children and get benefits.”

Another agency, Adoption Center (A/C) of Sweden can be seen as another example. This agency sponsored $30,000 to build and receive and take care of orphaned and abandoned children from 1 to 6 years old in Phu Yen. This project began on October 1, 1997 to April 6, 2000 and have brought in and nourished 20 children as though they were dead. 18 children have been introduced for foreign adoption.

Returning back to the case of Mary Nguyen. Because of having a lot of experience and being smooth and clever in finding and introducing children, a lot of agencies doing the adoption business hired her as their Vietnam facilitator like: World Child Inc., Life Adoption Services, Hope’s Promise and Angel Haven Outreach. Only World Child Inc. from May 1996 to November 1997 (the time where various authorities of Phu Yen discovered and stopped World Child Inc to continue exporting children), with a strong cooperation by Mary Nguyen, she was able to trade 53 children for foreign adoption. From April 1999 to March 2001, the foreign adoption situation in Phu Yen has not improved. Various adoptive parents notified that the procedures and dossier, World Child Inc. would take care of and they would have to give a fee of about 10,000 – 12,000 USD/child.

Mr. Tran That - Deputy Head of the division of the Ministry of Justice for Notary and Registry said: “In the near future there will be some NGO’s that will have their license withdrawn because of related adoptions like: A/C of Sweden, ACAI of Belgium, Ray of Hope, Each Person for Each Child…Mr. Nghiem Xuan Tue – Deputy Director of Foreign Relations Department of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs said: “Countries that participate in the Hague Convention in 1993 about the children’s rights and cooperate between countries about adoptions giving the principles : the giving and receiving of international adoption can not go through an illegal media and can not take advantage of the activity of adoption and aim at getting a illegal benefit. So, some works of international organizations taking advantage of the charity in order to get a benefit through adoption is unacceptable.”

According to the report of the authorities, in the last 6 years the amount of the money international organizations have been able to benefit through introducing Vietnamese children for adoption has been more than 27 million USD.


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