Baby broker appears in court

By Kamini Padayachee

June 1, 2011/ ioL News

The former owner of a Durban North children’s shelter will be charged with several counts of child trafficking and fraud.

This was heard in the Durban Magistrate’s Court yesterday when Hester Elizabeth van Schalkwyk made a brief appearance.

Van Schalkwyk, 60, was arrested in February this year for allegedly carrying out an illegal adoption at her shelter, the Survivors Children’s Sanctuary.

In court yesterday, prosecutor Val Melis said 30 additional counts would be added to the charge sheet.

“These charges include 17 counts of contravening several sections of the Children’s Act, child trafficking, attempted child trafficking and six counts of fraud.”

Melis also said the State had discovered that Van Schalkwyk had misled the court during her bail application in March, when she said she had only two previous convictions.

“We have found through a search on the police system that she has six previous convictions. At this stage we are not taking any further action. But we do intend charging her with failing to disclose her previous convictions to the court,” said Melis.

Van Schalkwyk had previously said she had one previous conviction of facilitating an illegal adoption and another of fraud.

Melis said the case would have to be transferred to the regional court because of the seriousness of the counts that had been added.

“The State asks for a final adjournment for investigations to be completed and for the case to be transferred to the regional court.”

Van Schalkwyk’s arrest came after Carte Blanche aired two programmes on its investigation into her alleged illegal activities.

Despite reports of the home being shut down in 2008 by child welfare authorities, she allegedly continued running an unregistered establishment for abandoned or orphaned children.


In the Carte Blanche programmes, couples claimed that Van Schalkwyk had promised them children to adopt from the home but said they did not have to speak to social workers.

The couples also alleged that two children were promised to several families, but the children’s mother had not consented to the adoption.

After her arrest, the children’s home was shut down by the provincial social welfare department and the children were placed in the care of a non-profit organisation, Just 4 Us Children.

The case was adjourned to July 28 and Van Schalkwyk was ordered to stay away from State witnesses and children who had lived at the shelter.

She is out on bail of R5 000


South African exports and PAP interests

I noticed, according to PPL's country stats, S. Africa exported a total of 12 children in 2000, a total of 276 children in 2009, but only a total of 3 exports were reported so far, in 2010.

As countries increase their exporting "children in-care" and "international adoption" numbers, and more and more illegal activity (child trafficking, baby brokers, illegal adoptions done without parental consent) gets reported in the local/international news, do foreign PAPs put 1+1 together and calculate the risks involved with an international adoption plan with a country that has sky-rocketing child-export numbers?

I mean, Africa itself is not exactly the most 'ethical' destination spot for an ICA plan... and yet it's becoming increasingly popular among the 'desperate to save an orphan' crowd. How do foreigners with a desire to adopt an orphan in-care explain/justify their final choice in terms of which sending country they will use?

Doesn't the baby-broker + child-trafficking through maternity/children's homes factor disturb educated prospective adopters enough to NOT participate (condone) such practices?

There are some things in Adoptionland I simply do not understand....

People will rally and organize and refuse to wear fur or animal skin because there is unethical treatment of animals within the clothing industry... and yet we see nothing when it comes to the unethical treatment of human beings within the adoption industry.  Why are these unethical adoption programs not boycotted, as well? 


More on the Baby Broker (who wanted more)

It seems for some, the baby-selling market just isn't big enough to earn a good profit.

New news reports reveal a new-scheme has been duping people with a dream and available cash: 

An alleged baby broker who was expected to appear in the Durban Regional Court on Thursday on charges of facilitating illegal adoptions, faces new fraud allegations involving the sale of non-existent wildlife.

Hester Elizabeth van Schalkwyk’s latest brush with the law was highlighted on Sunday by M-Net’s Carte Blanche - the same show that in 2011 exposed her alleged running of Survivors Sanctuary, an illegal children’s shelter in Durban.

Ed Hern, the owner of the Rhino and Lion Reserve near Johannesburg, told Carte Blanche that he was approached by a woman, Elichia Driescher (believed to be Van Schalkwyk’s alias) who represented herself as the chief executive officer of a company. He said she referred to herself as a “wild animal whisperer” and offered to sell him a baby rhino for R80 000

[From:  A twist in the ‘baby broker’ case , May 2, 2013 ]

According to the same news article,  the victim of this particular fraud did get his deposit money back, but he insists " She must go to jail for ever and ever.”

It will be interesting to see which activity brings the harsher of punishments:  the illegal selling of children, or the fraudulent selling of exotic animals.  

Pound Pup Legacy