exposing the dark side of adoption
Register Log in

MADAGASCAR: Concern over rising child trafficking

JOHANNESBURG, 20 April (IRIN) - Malagasy authorities have voiced their concern over the increase of child trafficking on the Indian Ocean island following the recent arrest of eight men accused of running an illegal adoption ring.

During a raid last week on a house in the capital, Antananarivo, police found 11 babies between the ages of three weeks and nine months in the process of being sent abroad, the BBC reported on Tuesday.

Children, mostly infants, were stolen and sent to illegal adoption centres, mainly in Europe, where they were then sold for about US $800 each. "The illicit acquisition and adoption of babies has increased during the last four years in Madagascar," the director of Judicial Police, Albert Rakotondravao, was quoted as saying in the report.

The UN Development Programme country representative, Bouri Sanhouidi, told IRIN that while widespread poverty had undermined the ability of parents to care for their children, ongoing discrimination against single mothers also contributed to women giving their infants up for adoption.

"Definitely, poverty is the main reason why young girls who have babies decide to give them up or sell them - they just don't have the means to keep them. But also, there is the ongoing stigma single women with children face from their neighbours and, in some cases, their family members," he said.

Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world, with most people surviving on less than a US $1 per day.
2004 Apr 20