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Madonna adoption 'could have encouraged child trafficking'


Madonna adoption 'could have encouraged child trafficking'
Allowing Madonna to adopt orphan Mercy James could have "facilitated child trafficking", according to the judge who rejected her application.

By Anita Singh, Showbusiness Editor
Last Updated: 12:37PM BST 03 Apr 2009

Madonna carries David Banda at Consol Homes, a day care center that she is funding in the village of Masekese, Malawi Photo: AP
Judge Esmie Chondo said allowing the pop star to take the four-year-old girl out of the country would set a dangerous precedent.
In a ruling issued by the High Court in Lilongwe, Judge Chondo said: "By removing the very safeguard that is supposed to protect our children, the courts by their pronouncements could actually facilitate trafficking of children by some unscrupulous individuals who would take advantage of the weakness of the law of the land.

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"I must confess that there is a gripping temptation to throw caution to the wind and grant an adoption in the hope that there will be a difference in the life of just one child. However, it should be borne in mind that inter-country adoptions may not (be) and are not the only solution."
Judge Chondo added that Mercy, whose name translates as Chifundo, has no need to be be rescued as she is being raised in one of Malawi's best orphanages.
"It is evident that Chifundo James no longer is subject to the conditions of poverty at her place of birth, since her admission at Kondanani orphanage," the ruling said.
Mercy's mother died in childbirth and it is not known if her father is alive. However, she has an extended family of uncles, aunts and grandparents who opposed the adoption. Rights groups, led by the Human Rights Consultative Committee, a coalition of 85 groups, accused Madonna of skirting the country's laws, which require prospective parents to live in the country for 18-24 months in order to undergo assessment.
Madonna did not attend the hearing and her lawyer, Alan Chinula, declined to speak to reports as he left the court.
The singer and actress arrived by private jet in the southern African state on Sunday accompanied by her 12-year-old daughter Lourdes, eight-year-old son Rocco and three-year-old son David Banda, whom she adopted in 2006 after seeing him in a Malawian orphanage. She was granted an interim adoption for David and removed him from Malawi immediately.

2009 Apr 3