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Poor children 'adopted' in Australia were stolen from India, reveals Time magazine


Poor children 'adopted' in Australia were stolen from India, reveals Time magazine

August 23, 2008

Melbourne, Aug 23 (ANI): A gang of criminals active in southern India kidnaps pretty children belonging to the lowest strata of the society, gives them new identifies and finally sell them to adoption agencies who, in turn, shift them to countries like Australia for adoption by affluent childless families. This has been revealed in a report to be published in the Time magazine's forthcoming edition.

According to the report, at least 30 children brought into Australia for adoption may have been stolen from their parents as part of a child-trafficking network in India, particularly Chennai.

Some children are believed to have been stolen from the streets by gangs who sold them for as little as Rs 10,000 to an adoption agency Malaysian Social Services based at Tiruverkadu in Chennai.

Australian federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland said last night that he had asked his department to contact Indian authorities and liaise with the Australian Federal Police to seek more details. I will ensure that any matters arising from the inquiry will be duly acted upon, and will engage with state and territory governments in their areas of responsibility, The Australian quoted him as saying.

Citing a case, the magazine reported that a nine-year-old girl now living in Queensland under a new name, who was earlier named Zabeen, was snatched as a two-year-old by a gang using a motorised rickshaw as she played outside her family home in Chennai. She was stolen while her mother Fatima walked around the corner to the local market.

The Queensland couple who adopted her are believed to be devastated at the revelation that she was stolen. The girl was adopted through the Queensland Department of Families, Youth and Community Care. The adoption occurred in 2000 despite the fact that serious questions were raised five years earlier about the Indian adoption agency, the Malaysian Social Services.

Three weeks ago, India's intelligence agency the Central Bureau of Intelligence (CBI) sent an Interpol request to Australia to interview Queensland authorities and the couple who adopted the girl.

Lawyer D. Geetha, who is representing parents whose children were adopted overseas by MSS and other agencies, estimated that at least 30 of the almost 400 Indian children brought into Australia in the past 10 to 15 years were trafficked.

The Australian Government needs to appoint some kind of investigation about all the children who came through this agency, look at their background, look into their documents. These children are going to want to find their parents. The communication is being lost, Time magazine quoted her as saying.

The owners of MSS, PV Ravindranath and his wife, Vatsala, were arrested over the operations of the agency. Ravindranath died in 2006 and his wife, who is presently on bail, insisted that MSS did not know the children were stolen. (ANI)

2008 Aug 23