Activists call for tighter laws on adoption
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Activists have called for the amendment of the Children’s Act to include rules and guidelines on legal guardianship.
By Carol Natukunda
May 6, 2013 / NewVision
CHILD rights activists want the Government to halt issuance of legal guardianship orders to anyone seeking adoption, arguing that it has been manipulated by child traffickers.
In a statement released on Friday, the activists also called for the amendment of the Children’s Act to include rules and guidelines on legal guardianship.
“Currently, the issuance of legal guardianship is at the discretion of a sitting judge. The lack of clear guidelines makes the system highly susceptible to child traffickers,” read the statement from African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN).
Sunday Vision recently broke a story showing that under the guise of legal guardianship, a number of children were being trafficked and sold off as sex slaves.
The report revealed that some of the parents are duped into giving away their children without fully understanding the consequences, yet for others, the financial benefits accrued from international adoption are too good to ignore.
According to the Police Crime Report 2011, a total of 69 cases of child trafficking were reported to the Police.
ANPPCAN stated that it had received and handled five cases of trafficking in 2012.
“In one of the cases, a 17-year-old girl who had been trafficked to Sweden was deported back to Uganda. Similarly, a 17-year-old boy was also deported by the Swedish Immigration Board in 2012. Upon arrival back in Uganda, both the boy and girl were resettled with their families. It is still not yet clear how they got to Sweden,” the statement said.
In Kitgum, 76 children aged between four to 16 years were recently rescued from a local organisation called Active Blessing Uganda. These children were being used as collateral to get assistance from donors.
The rescued children were being used to herd cattle and do other forms of domestic work in exchange for food. They were confined and were not allowed to move freely in the villages for fear that they would escape. It is reported that some of the children died due to malnutrition and lack of medical care.
The activists want the Government to institute a national committee to regulate the approval of all the inter-country adoption cases.
“The Government should ratify the Hague Convention on inter-country adoption to ensure that Ugandan children, once they leave the country, are monitored and their well-being is safeguarded. For inter-country adoption to happen, it should be necessary, legal and as a last resort,” they stated.
Anslem Wandega, the executive director ANPPCAN Uganda Chapter said: “Trafficking is slavery with a modern face, and no country can claim to be civilised with a section of its population still in slavery.