Corruption promotes child trafficking from Azerbaijan - TV

Date: 2004-02-19

Original Source: ANS TV, Baku
BBC Monitoring International Reports

[Presenter] The members of an organized group who take children from Azerbaijan under the guise of finding a guardian abroad and then sell their internal organs have not been put on trial yet.

[Correspondent over video of children in a nursery] Is it possible to take a child abroad from Azerbaijan and use his internal organs for transplantation there? Our efforts to find an answer to this question showed that this threat not only exists, but official arbitrariness in this sphere allows unprotected small children to be illegally taken out of the country. Let us remind you first that the adoption of orphans is free of charge under the [Azerbaijani] law "On guardianship". However, lawyer Aslan Ismayilov said that he could not take a child from an orphanage for his friend. He said that 10-12 documents were needed for this procedure. But one should give a bribe for every document. The lawyer thinks that the bribes demanded at various levels increase the likelihood of children being illegally taken away.

[Aslan Ismayilov in his office] This is 100 per cent possible. No-one cares about the fate of a child illegally taken away. That child can be used as a tool in any way. If a child is adopted and taken away through a court, a special department under the Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers which is engaged in this sphere will register this case.

[Correspondent over video of Ismayilov] Ismayilov has spent two years trying to enable his friend to officially adopt a child. You can find the web sites of 20 mediating companies on the Azerbaijan adoption web page. These companies can make the guardianship of orphans official within four months. For instance, the Families Thru International Adoption company can make you happy for 5,000-1,000 dollars [with children] from Brazil, India, Russia, China, Guatemala, Vietnam and Azerbaijan. These expenses do not cover three visits by [prospective] parents to Azerbaijan and the preparation of about 12 documents. The head of the child commission of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly, Tamilla Zeynalova, has been working in child custody problems for about 12 years. She said that Azerbaijan has turned into a so-called good market. Zeynalova said that documents required from potential foreign and local parents are necessary in line with the law. The bodies giving these documents cause problems.

[Tamilla Zeynalova in office] Many documents should be collected. It's correct that for a person wishing to adopt a child, his or her domestic and living conditions should be checked. But we know what stands behind every paper, every certificate. That should not be the case.

[Correspondent over video of a young boy] But evil people can achieve what they want without any documents. Muzaffar, 12, who came from Yevlax District to Baku to earn money, is ready to leave Azerbaijan with any foreign citizen.

[Muzaffar Mammadov] There is no electricity, no gas.

[Correspondent] Would you go if someone offers to take you?

[Muzaffar] Yes, I would.

[Correspondent] Does it make a difference which country it is?

[Muzaffar] I would choose any country.

[Correspondent] But Muzaffar is unaware that his organs might be taken out and sold. We were the first to inform him of such a likelihood.

Zaur Hasanov and Sehrac Azadoglu, ANS.

Original Language: Azeri

Text of report by Azerbaijani TV station ANS on 18 Februar


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