Britain Bans Cambodian Adoptions


2004-06-23
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PHNOM PENH — ; Britain has become the sixth Western country to suspend adoptions of Cambodian children out of concern over illegal selling of babies and other abuses, RFA's Khmer service reports.

The decision takes immediate effect and applies to applications for adoption already under consideration in Cambodia, according to Margaret Hodge, Britain's minister of state for children, young people, and families.

Cambodia's adoption system has insufficient safeguards "to prevent children being adopted without proper consents being given by their birth parents, and improper financial gain being made by individuals involved in the adoption process," she said in a statement.

The decision follows a probe by the British government that found abuses including "systematic falsification of Cambodian official documents" and use of payments or coercion by some adoption facilitators aimed at pressing mothers to give up their children, Hodge said.

Human rights groups have alleged that Cambodian adoption facilitators pay mothers as little as U.S. $30 for newborns. The United States, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Belgium have also suspended adoptions of Cambodian children in recent years.

Despite the suspensions, baby sales continue in some Cambodian villages, often driven by poverty.

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