The stories of three women who were abandoned by their parents during China’s one-child policy.
The stories of three women who were abandoned by their parents during China’s one-child policy.
“I gave birth to a girl. She’s eight months old. Because I’m a single mother…” read a message on Realize Your Dream for a Family, a website that the Chinese police say posed as a public welfare group connecting childless couples with children needing homes, but that in reality was a hard-nosed business buying and selling babies.
The “for sale” message ends there, with a visitor unable to open the link a day after the Ministry of Public Security announced that it had broken up four major baby-trafficking rings and arrested more than 1,000 people. The police identified the websites as Realize Your Dream for a Family, Everyone Wants Me, Adopt8 and China Orphan Net. About 30 instant-messenger groups on the popular Tencent QQ service were also being used to discuss details such as the prices of the babies, the police said.
Read human trafficking story here: http://www.chinafile.com/carried-off-abduction-adoption
…It is true that many in America’s adoption community do not want to talk about trafficking in China. I contacted nearly a dozen American adoption agencies that specialize in China adoptions for this story; all but one of them refused to comment or ignored the request entirely. The one person who did respond was Lisa Prather, executive director of A Helping Hand Adoption Agency, who said that “the term trafficking should never be used in the description of an adoption [and by using this term] the media is perpetuating erroneous propaganda,” since adoptions don’t meet the TVPRA definition of the term.
Of course, another reason the issue isn’t widely discussed is money. U.S.-China adoption is big business; U.S. Adoption agencies make thousands—Candis said it cost her nearly $20,000, and many adoption agencies publicly list prices in this range—for each child adopted from China, and Chinese orphanages generally receive a donation of at least $5,000 from the adoptive parents; Candis paid $3,000 but the mandatory fee has since been raised to $5,000 nationwide. On the American side, shutting down the China adoption program would lead to a big drop in revenue for many adoption agencies, and would shut down others completely. In China, orphanages make money for each child placed with adoptive parents, and since trafficked children often cost an orphanage around $500 to purchase, a quick overseas adoption can bring in a tidy profit.
…The U.S. State Department estimates that every year, around 20 thousand children are kidnapped in China, and some independent estimates are much higher. Tens of thousands of resolved cases, and the fact that many of those kidnapped are boys but very few boys are adopted internationally, indicate that many of those children are sold into domestic adoption. But we know that at least a few of them do end up getting adopted internationally. We know that of the children adopted internationally, many of them (like Erica Candis) may arrive overseas with doctored paperwork or origins that are otherwise unclear.
“I would say that fraud or trafficking is involved in more than three-quarters of all adoptions from China,” says Brian Stuy. Stuy is a controversial figure in the adoption field—parents have accused him of having an agenda (they think he wants the China adoption program shut down), and Research China does produce paid reports on the background of adopted children whose parents are interested in looking into it and have $50 (the average research fee) to spare. But he is also one of the only people who has done extensive statistical analysis and investigative fieldwork within China to determine which orphanages are involved in baby-buying, and to what extent. Stuy says cases like Candis’ are quite common, and that despite China’s proclamations in official media that it has dealt with the problem behind the trafficking in Hunan and other high profile scandals, baby buying and selling continues. In mid-January, a Chinese whistleblower posted shocking allegations about an orphanage in Guixi, Jiangxi province in Southeast China, that places many children internationally, accusing it of corruption, baby buying, and abuse. The case is still under investigation and it is not yet clear whether the allegations are true, but Susan Morgan, a mother to two adopted children from China including one who came from the Guixi orphanage, was still saddened when she read the news. “I’ve known for years that corruption is rampant in international adoption,” Morgan said, “[But] suddenly being faced with an anonymous whistle blower who cites corruption in your own child’s orphanage is still shocking, especially when you’ve met some of the people accused.”
But Morgan fears interest in the story will peter out before long, in part because there are a lot of people who simply don’t want to hear it. “Most adoptive families, I feel sure, do not understand how serious the issue of baby buying is in China, and the ties it can have to child trafficking and kidnapping,” Susan said. “Of course, this is an issue that most adoptive parents do not want to explore, for obvious reasons.” They fear losing their children, and they fear the nightmarish legal battle their children could be dragged through if it was ever discovered that their children had biological parents who hadn’t truly given them up and actually wanted them back. That fear is both understandable and warranted—no one really seems to be sure what would happen in such a case if both sets of parents were unflinching in demanding the child stay with them—but American adoptive parents’ general disinterest in investigating corruption and baby buying in Chinese orphanages may be part of the reason why Chinese parents like Liu Liqin are still losing their children at a rate of dozens per day…
“During the year, Chinese sex trafficking victims were reported on all of the inhabited continents,” the report found. “Traffickers recruited girls and young women, often from rural areas of China, using a combination of fraudulent job offers, imposition of large travel fees, and threats of physical or financial harm, to obtain and maintain their service in prostitution.”
However, the State Department also singled out the country’s epidemic of forced labor, in which both internal and external migrants are conscripted to work in coal mines or factories without pay, as well as its continued use of re-education hard labor camps for political dissidents.
In Russia, there are estimates that 50,000 children are involved in involuntary prostitution, said David Abramowitz, vice president for policy at Humanity United, an advocacy group. What’s more, about one million people there are thought to be exposed to exploitive labor conditions, including extremely poor living conditions, the withholding for documents, and nonpayment for services.
“In 2012, the government deported hundreds of labor trafficking victims found in squalid conditions in a Moscow garment factory and levied criminal charges against other trafficking victims allegedly held in servitude for a decade,” the report found.
Human Rights Watch has pointed out that some of Russia’s labor abuses have occurred during the preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, with some workers enduring “12-hour shifts with one day off per month, having their passports confiscated, being denied employment contracts, and facing unsanitary and overcrowded employer-provided accommodations, with up to 200 migrant workers living in a one single-family home.”
Still, prosecutions for human trafficking there remain low compared to the scope of the problem, and the government has still not established any concrete system for identifying or helping trafficking victims, the State Department found.
In Uzbekistan, the annual cotton harvest has been the biggest human-trafficking culprit. The country is the world’s sixth largest cotton producer, and each year local officials force thousands of children to pick cotton in the fields in order to meet quotas cheaply. (Abramowitz points out that this year, the country actually replaced some of the child workers with teenagers and city workers, but it’s forced labor nonetheless.)
Abramowitz said the three countries could improve their “tier” ranking if they stepped up their training of law enforcement officials to identify and assist trafficking victims, cracked down on forced labor in factories, and became more transparent about their data on sex slavery and other human rights abuses.
Russia and China reacted angrily to the report, saying the rankings were based on diplomatic closeness with Washington rather than realities on the ground.
Beijing‘s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, “We believe that the U.S. side should take an objective and impartial view of China’s efforts and stop making unilateral or arbitrary judgements of China.”
In a forward to the report, Secretary of State John Kerry wrote that fighting human trafficking would remain a foreign-policy priority. “Fighting this crime wherever it exists is in our national interest,” he wrote.
There are four main threats to all farmers. The first being drought, a severe drought can have drastic impacts on crops. The second is flooding, floods can drown crops or wash them away, or even make it impossible to get livestock and crops to market. The third is fire, devastating feed for animals and burning crops. The fourth is disease, disease that strikes animals as well as crops. Drought is a factor in disease, a lack of water for animals and crops stresses them, making them more prone to contracting diseases.
In 2002 Alberta suffered a very serious drought. Because many people lacked feed and water and sold off their herds, the market was flooded (causing the price drop). Beef was near worthless, the price of grain also dropped. During this time many farmers suffered, however because this happened in Alberta measures here put in place to smooth over the affects.
In Alberta many farmers left for jobs in the oil field, or construction sectors. But what if this had happened in an already poor nation, a nation where there were no other jobs? The hungrier a person gets, the more desperate they become. When a daughter of farmer in Moldova with no prospects, is offered a job as a waitress in Italy, how can she refuse? Unbeknown to her she will be sold as a sex slave when she arrives.
In China desertification is pushing people off the land into the city’s, in Africa for many years people have suffered from crippling droughts, all of these situations create desperate people. Natural disasters also create opportunity for human traffickers, earthquakes, hurricanes and typhoons all increase the availability of desperate people to become victims of trafficking.
Rising sea levels will displace an ever increasing number of people from fertile low coastal areas, adding to the increasing number of desperate and destitute people, whom slave traffickers can easily take advantage of. What, if anything can be done to stop this abuse of human rights? As long as drought severity continues to increase, floods become more and more devastating and wildfires burn out of control, the future seems dismal.
Shared Hope International and International Justice Mission (IJM), are working hard on the ground to help victims of slavery. But what can average citizens do? We can start by decreasing our ecological footprint, by reducing our consumption, reusing and recycling. By educating ourselves as how best to avoid slave made products, avoiding slave made products is hard, but reasonably possible.
The world is a shrinking place, where it is harder and harder to avoid the realities faced in the day to day struggle for survival. The climate is changing and our resources and farm land diminishing, displacing many millions of people, and by doing so making more people vulnerable to slavery.
Adoption is really taking children from the poor and giving to the rich. Adoption Trafficking is coercive language that in the end, the person of ‘power’ manipulates the vulnerable parent, typically the mother, out of her child. The end goal is to fulfill the demand of wanting infertile adopters and financially benefiting the industry. The adoption fees are disguised as the costs to ‘process’ the child for adoption and can cost as high as $60,000+ for each transaction. It’s modern day, 21st century, legalized child trafficking. Think of how much that $60,000 could help a community in Uganda, China, India keeping families together. Instead it’s an undercurrent of corruption in foreign countries all happening from the demand of rich Westerners. The middle man (adoption agencies) strips away the true identity of the child and the adopter buys the child, so he or she will become one of their ‘own’. In the adopters minds they may think of it as saving an ‘orphan’ or a ‘solution for infertility issues’, but there is strategic modern day ‘verbiage’ agencies use, social workers,lawyers or counselors (or anyone working for the adoption industry) to manipulate young mothers out of their children and that took decades to perfect. “You are too young”, “your child deserve to be brought up in a two parent home”, “how are you going to raise your child by yourself?” “You have nothing” The person in power starts planting seeds of fear into the mothers head to create doubt. At the end of the day the goal is to get the child, the younger the child the better (because they sell for the most profit). Religious rhetoric is used also to convince the mother that she is not worthy and incapable of raising her own child, by the Evangelical Orphan Movement. Christians use God as the reason why one mother deserves the child more then another mother. Christian and non-christian agencies use photolistings of children on the websites implying that they are ‘real’ orphans. Sadly, you really have no idea if the children online are true orphans. The pictures of the children creates emotional feelings to the shopper and the agency even sets up an easy ‘favorite folder’ to keep the children in a special folder to go back to several times a day. Millions upon millions of children are stolen from all around the world, and millions of millions of parents are lied to, coerced, manipulated to fill the high demands in the West. It needs to STOP! Photolisting should be illegal and exploits the child. Taking advantage of poor vulnerable families is a crime. Adoption Agencies are wolves in sheep clothing. My advice: If you are an adoptee start investigating your own adoption. Are you a true orphan? If you do not have proof and/or your paperwork is falsified then the agency you adopted from could be guilty of Adoption Trafficking. Start asking the agencies the hard questions, and if you don’t get answers then keep investigating until you have the answers. Agencies are getting away with NOT having to be transparent with adoptions and ‘protecting’ us from our real parents that live across the ocean. HMMMM, how convenient!!!! How sickening, how sad, how infuriating! They enjoy keeping us separate from the TRUTH because they never have to answer to us. They never have to pay for their sins! It’s time we start doing our own investigations even if we need to go to the media. If they are telling the truth then they have nothing to hide. Lets start finding our real families! To HELL with adoption agencies for selling children!
According to Chinese business magazine Caijing, Chinese officials with the Ministry of Environment Protection confirmed the existence of cancer villages in a statement announcing plans to alleviate pollution and its harmful side effects.
“The toxic chemicals have caused many environmental emergencies linking to water and air pollutions,” the Ministry announced. “There are even some serious cases of health and social problems like the emergence of cancer villages in individual regions.”
In India, China and many other parts of the world today, girls are killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they are girls. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls(1) are missing in the world today because of this so-called “gendercide”.
Girls who survive infancy are often subject to neglect, and many grow up to face extreme violence and even death at the hands of their own husbands or other family members.
The war against girls is rooted in centuries-old tradition and sustained by deeply ingrained cultural dynamics which, in combination with government policies, accelerate the elimination of girls.
Shot on location in India and China, It’s a Girl reveals the issue. It asks why this is happening, and why so little is being done to save girls and women.
The film tells the stories of abandoned and trafficked girls, of women who suffer extreme dowry-related violence, of brave mothers fighting to save their daughters’ lives, and of other mothers who would kill for a son. Global experts and grassroots activists put the stories in context and advocate different paths towards change, while collectively lamenting the lack of any truly effective action against this injustice.
It’s a Girl is now available for screening events globally. (Learn more about bringing It’s a Girl to your city!)
Think hard about trafficking in babies when you read this!
- China Rescues 89 Children From Trafficking Rings (blogs.voanews.com)
- 89 children rescued in China trafficking bust (abc.net.au)
- 89 children rescued as trafficking rings busted in southern China (wantchinatimes.com)
(for C., who nagged me to blog more. Thank you!)
*This editorial is…well, it’s terrible. It’s terrible because it’s a self-portrait of someone who had apparently been trying to come to terms with hard facts: that she knowingly did something wrong and that doing that wrong thing has made her happy. Adoption needs that kind of self-examination very badly. Unfortunately, it seems Ms. O’Dwyer has decided the cognitive dissonance is too much, and that she must perforce be innocent.
Adoption is riddled with this crap. We need less of it and we damned sure need fewer people encouraging others to do it. Adoption needs more wide open eyes, not more willful blindness like this:
My adoption is OK because the mother was unmarried.
My adoption is OK because my child is an “orphan.”
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|Photo Credit: Larissa Sayer|
Why, when so many people oppose the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project, would government and industry resort to such extreme measures to push it through?
The problems with the plan to run pipelines from the Alberta tar sands across northern B.C. to load unrefined, diluted bitumen onto supertankers for export to China and elsewhere are well-known: threats to streams, rivers, lakes and land from pipeline leaks; the danger of contaminated ocean ecosystems from tanker spills; rapid expansion of the tar sands; and the climate change implications of continued wasteful use of fossil fuels.
The benefits aren’t as apparent. Some short-term and fewer long-term jobs, possibly for foreign workers, and increased profits for the oil industry – including state-owned Chinese companies – are all we’re being offered in exchange for giving up our resources, interests and future, putting ecosystems at risk, and forfeiting due democratic process.
Our government is ramming through another omnibus budget bill, and is set to sign a deal with China, both of which seem aimed at facilitating the pipeline and other resource-extraction projects. Its first budget bill gutted environmental protection laws, especially those that might obstruct pipeline plans. It also limited input from the public and charitable organizations, and included measures to crack down on charities that engage in political advocacy.
The recent 457-page omnibus budget bill goes even further. Among other changes, it revises the Navigable Waters Protection Act (renamed the Navigation Protection Act) to substantially reduce waterways that must be considered for protection and exempt pipelines from regulations.
Meanwhile, the government is set to sign a 31-year deal on October 31 that will give China’s government significant control over Canada’s resources and even over Canadians’ rights to question projects like Northern Gateway. The Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement would allow China to sue Canada, outside of our borders and behind closed doors, if the pipeline deal were blocked or China’s interests in our resource industry hindered; for example, if the B.C. government were to stop Northern Gateway. It also gives the Chinese state-owned companies “the right to full protection and security from public opposition”, as well as the right to use Chinese labour and materials on projects in which it has invested.
According to author and investigative journalist Andrew Nikiforuk, writing for the Tyee, “The deal does not require provincial consent. It comes without any risk-benefit analysis. And it can be ratified into law without parliamentary debate.”
Why would anyone want to sell out our interests, democratic processes and future like this? And why would we put up with it? On the first question, Gus Van Harten, an international investment law professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, told Desmog Blog we must consider the possibility that government and industry know that changes in attitudes about fossil fuel extraction “may lead to new regulations on the oil patch, in that, climate can’t just be wished away forever, and that governments might take steps to regulate the oil patch in ways that investors wouldn’t like.” He continues, “If you bring in a lot of Chinese investments, and you sign the Canada investment deal, you kind of get the Chinese investors to do your dirty work for you.”
In other words, as the world recognizes the already extreme and increasing consequences of global warming and shifts from wastefully burning fossil fuels to conservation and renewable energy, tar sands bitumen may soon become uneconomical. The goal is to dig it up, sell it and burn it as quickly as possible while there’s still money to be made. It’s cynical and suicidal, but it’s the kind of thinking that is increasingly common among those who see the economy as the highest priority – over human health and the air, water, soil and biodiverse ecosystems that keep us alive.
What can we do? Prof. Van Harten has written to provincial governments urging them to ask the federal government to “stop the rushed ratification” of the China deal. We should all demand that our leaders put the interests of Canadians now and into the future ahead of short-sighted and destructive industrial ambitions. The budget bill and trade deal are not democratic in content or implementation. We need to take back democracy.
By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Communications Manager Ian Hanington.
For more insights from David Suzuki, please read Everything Under the Sun (Greystone Books/David Suzuki Foundation), by David Suzuki and Ian Hanington, now available in bookstores and online