Next Generation Nepal | “earthquake orphans” | Reconnecting Trafficked Children with Their Families

Reconnecting Trafficked Children with Their Families. Next Generation Nepal rebuilds family connections torn apart by child trafficking and helps rural communities become stronger, healthier places to raise their children.

SEE: Next Generation Nepal – How We Work

NGN Turns 10: A Decade of Rescuing and Reunifying Trafficked Children with their Families

With your help, we have brought over 500 children home, raised awareness and started an initiative to stop trafficking before it begins.


Dear Friend of Next Generation Nepal,

It has been 12 years since I first arrived in Nepal for what I thought would be a small blip in my story. Little did I know that I was about to embark down a path that would change the entire trajectory of my life in ways I couldn’t imagine.

This journey began in 2004 when I volunteered at Little Princes Children’s Home on the outskirts of Kathmandu and met a group of boys and girls who would change my life forever. I’d been led to believe that these kids were orphans, which invoked heartfelt empathy and a strong desire for me to bring them joy in their young lives. I soon learned the truth—they had mothers and fathers, siblings and communities where they once had a full and happy life which they had been taken from. I was shocked to know these kids had been trafficked. It was because of this realization that I made a promise to do whatever possible to bring them and as many others back home. Out of that promise the seed that would grow into Next Generation Nepal was planted.

It took two years of commitment and hard work, but, in 2006, NGN was finally able to open the doors of its official office in Nepal and rescue the Little Princes. Soon after, I set off to the remote district of Humla in search of their families. This was the first rescue and reunification that NGN did.

Over the last 10 years, NGN has continued to grow.  Today we work in 31 districts and have helped reconnect over 500 children with their families! In addition to our reintegration work, NGN is now considered an expert on ethical volunteering in Nepal, and our Community Anti-Trafficking (CAT) project works to prevent children from being trafficked in the first place.

NGN has persevered through a civil war, earthquakes and constant political unrest, but we have not let anything stand in our way in accomplishing our mission. Our teams continue to rescue, care and search in the remotest parts of Nepal for the families of these children so that we can bring them home.

NGN is celebrating the joy of 10 years of rescuing and reunifying trafficked children as well as broadening NGN’s reach into bringing awareness to families and communities of the causes of trafficking and stopping it before it begins.

There are still thousands of children who have been displaced from their families and living in abusive conditions for the financial gain of their captors. Please help us to begin this next 10 years by supporting NGN’s work so we can not only bring hundreds more children home, but to stop child trafficking at its core.

With Gratitude,

Conor Grennan (author)
President, Next Generation Nepal

MORE:  After the Great Nepal Earthquake
April 25, 2016

I drove to the NGN transit home where I was overjoyed to find 17 children playing games in a make-shift tent of tarpaulins, and being cared for by our staff and —believe it or not— the Little Princes!  Yes, the now young adults whom NGN Founder Conor Grennan had made famous as children in his book, “Little Princes,” had kept their promise that in the event of an earthquake they would protect the younger children. In addition to this we had a four-week supply of food, water and medicines, so even if the roads and airport were shut off, we could all still survive.

Within the heavily cracked walls of a room at the Central Child Welfare Board, I joined the Government and other NGOs to plan what our response would be for affected children. We knew that the situation in Kathmandu was not as bad as the rural areas. But we also knew that the traffickers were already prowling the villages looking for children to remove them from their frightened parents and place them in profit-making children’s homes.  To make matters worse, several children’s homes were already announcing hundreds of new places for children to come to Kathmandu. It was like the previous decade’s civil war all over again—families would be torn apart by hollow promises of safety and education, only to be used as fundraising tools by organizations wishing to profit from the millions of dollars of disaster aid money flowing into the country.  All these unscrupulous organizations needed to succeed in their plans were children to be falsely presented as “earthquake orphans.” We had to act fast.

…A child-friendly space is a basically a large tent that acts as a safe space for children after a disaster. In the NGN child-friendly spaces, the children were offered structured play and learning activities, psycho-social counseling and locally-prepared nutritious meals. This gave them the opportunity to regain a sense of normality in their lives, and allowed their parents some much-needed respite.  But our child-friendly spaces were more than this—they also built trust with the local community, which, in time, allowed NGN to start raising awareness within the community of the dangers of child trafficking and the importance of family preservation.

By July we had established 11 child-friendly spaces in hard-hit villages where we had assessed there was a high risk of trafficking. We had also supported the Nepal Police to establish two transport check posts where we could intercept buses to search for children who might be being trafficked to Kathmandu.  When we found unaccompanied children on the buses, we rescued them, and the local government returned them to their families.

By now we were also able to roll out our awareness-raising campaigns. These included a traveling acting troupe that performed a street drama about child traffickers pretending to be representatives of NGOs to lure vulnerable children to the city; several passionate street rallies led by school children demanding an “end to child trafficking”; leaflets and posters; competitions and speeches; and a radio jingle to reach the most remote families whom we could not access by road or foot.

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An International Adoption Clouded in Deception

February 20, 2012: Imagine a complete stranger telling you that your adopted daughter, who you always believed was an orphan, was actually not. “Surreal and heart wrenching” is how Ana would describe it.
Names have been changed in the story to protect the privacy of those involved.

In early 2004, a Spanish woman named Ana wanted to adopt a Nepalese child. Nepal was still in an armed conflict and she was told that many children were losing their parents. She arranged a meeting with a representative at the Consulate of Nepal in Spain to find out more information. Ana was given the contact information for an orphanage in Nepal and started the complex process necessary to adopt a child.

After about one year, the adoption became official and Ana, overcome with joy, traveled to the orphanage in Kathmandu to meet her new daughter and bring her home to Spain. The orphanage had arranged for Ana to adopt Sunitha, a six-year-old girl with a personality that enchanted Ana from the beginning. As months passed, Sunitha quickly learned Spanish and slowly began assimilating to Spanish culture. “Sunitha was becoming a Spaniard, but I also wanted her to be aware of her Nepalese heritage. I did not want Sunitha to forget her origins,” said Ana…

Keep Reading

 

Editor’s Note
Many of the children in Nepal’s “orphanages” are there because traffickers (who are sometimes relatives) deceive parents in remote villages into allowing them to take their kids to “elite educational facilities” that are actually centers for child exploitation. In fewer instances, impoverished Nepalese parents make desperate decisions to take their children themselves to children’s homes under the assumption that they will at least have a chance at an education and a successful life. However, these parents do not think the homes’ managers would ever send their children overseas through adoption. They assume that children’s homes will care for their kids until they enter college and can work on their own.

According to The U.S. State Department website, the United States “continues to strongly recommend that prospective adoptive parents refrain from adopting children from Nepal due to grave concerns about the reliability of Nepal’s adoption system and credible reports that children have been stolen from birth parents, who did not intend to irrevocably relinquish parental rights as required by INA 101(b)(1)(F). We also strongly urge adoption service providers not to accept new applications for adoption from Nepal.” To read more about the US State Department’s guidelines on adoptions from Nepal click here.

By LT

Last year: Children left devastated by the earthquake in Nepal in 2015 were preyed upon by slave traders… Wealthy British families are buying children left devastated by last year’s earthquake in Nepal to work as domestic slaves. The children – who are as young as 10 – are being sold for as little as £5,250 (Rs 500,000, $7,468) by black market gangs operating in India’s Punjab region, according to an investigation by The Sun. I published about Nepal here.

Here is another adoption trafficking victim here.

Just remember conflict areas like Syria are ripe for human trafficking.

 

Propaganda Pawns: Selling Babies, Rehoming, deporting ADOPTEES must end

trafficking_business_int
Using children to make a billion dollars: Propaganda Pawns

By Lara Trace Hentz

This recent essay on Lost Daughters is a truly revealing story written by a deported adoptee, who experienced a corrupt system called “adoption,” made a victim by her American adoptive parents who fail to register her for citizenship with immigration: http://www.thelostdaughters.com/2015/03/international-adoption-and-story-of.html

And Adam Pertman’s recent post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-pertman/against-the-backdrop-of-s_b_6830268.html  [In short, Shepherd’s adoption took place before 2000, when a new federal statute conferred automatic U.S. citizenship on most children adopted internationally into this country; the law included a retroactive provision, but she was adopted a few months before it kicked in.]

Read about Korean adoptee ADAM threatened with deportation: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/retroactive-citizenship-adult-adoptees-n318581

WHY is this not big news? (Is the adoption industry nervous getting bad press?)

Many, many years ago, adoption was meant to help the children of war, poverty and (often called) this country’s pioneer problems.  Church-run Orphanages housed these small victims – some who had living parents. Some were even called half-orphans. Then gradually state’s replaced orphan asylums with child welfare departments. Gradually and subtly, it was grilled into our heads how adoption “saved” their lives. Or did it?

About the latest thing: some adoptive parents forget or neglect to get American citizenship for their adopted child. An adoptee gets in trouble, breaks the law and they get deported?  To where?  To whom?  If that child meant so much to them, how could American adoptive parents forget or skip that part of the legal process? If you paid money for a baby to be yours, didn’t the adoption agency or lawyer mention citizenship? Wouldn’t you want them stay in the USA if you raise them to be YOUR child? (What is wrong with this picture – buyer remorse?)

This is what we can’t seem to get into our heads: over the years adoption trafficking morphed into providing babies to infertile couples, those who can pay. Courts close adoptions to ease the adopter’s minds and permanently erase the adopted child’s identity and ancestry on their birth documents. When the supply of illegitimate bastards ran out in the US, trafficking went overseas. Those shortages built the international adoption industry into a billion dollar booming business it is today. Those specialized lawyers and adoption agencies legitimatize supplying babies and making lots of money.

FOLLOW THE MONEY: now it requires money to find that orphan, that available baby.  Couples desperate to make a family and adopt will head to hundreds of websites! Potential adoptive parents (PAPS) are shown photos of children languishing in overseas orphanages – a clever sales device to ply PAPS with pity. Those kids are propaganda pawns. Those kids have parents! (Stories about Angelina Jolie and Madonna have surfaced how their adopted children have parents too — but shush, that’s not good propaganda.)

So now the bigger picture is clear… if a child has parents, we can’t call them orphans – because they are NOT ORPHANS. But they are being used to make money, to sucker you in to adopt overseas.

If babies are product, for those who buy in the black market and overseas, they might overlook a baby is only a baby a short time. A child is not a programmable replacement for the child you didn’t conceive. Babies are not blank slates. Adoptees do grow up and will have questions when they get older and not all will be complacent or happy or grateful. Then what will you do? And if your adopted child from overseas has problems, who will you blame? (Will you re-home them? SEE THIS) (top photo from Facebook rehoming page)

Where are the headlines about the cyber-market: babies abducted then auctioned off.  But how do you get adoption papers for cyber-market stolen babies? You’d have to pay off a judge and use a lawyer, right? (Do you think that’s why some states refuse to unseal adoption records? It might reveal fraud and corruption?) We know it takes quite a bit of paperwork to adopt a baby these days, especially internationally. It was never about us, the adoptees. It was about filling a need, collecting cash. Just follow the money and it becomes obvious.

Billions could and should be spent on family preservation, and solving infertility that only seems to be getting worse in the USA – but the adoption industry keeps people focused on the perfect propaganda pawns – orphans. Now there are fertility scandals (see below).

Willful ignorance, bad information or insufficient education, none are acceptable or an excuse anymore. With the internet, there is plenty for potential adoptive parents to read, if they open their mind and take their time and do some research.

You know what? It’s time all this comes out – and all the trafficking and money and corruption is exposed!

159dd-trafficinbabies-bmpMy priorities: We can give children-in-need new parents under new laws called legal guardianship. We never erase a child’s identity. We abolish adoption entirely, and open all the sealed adoption files. We give birthfathers the legal rights to raise their own children.  Social services are reconfigured to work on family preservation and helping parents be parents – and of course solving and ending poverty. Most of all, we MUST stop selling babies and deporting adoptees. We close all adoption agencies and prosecute the traffickers.

The sad part of this is adoptees can’t escape what adults and courts and governments do. We have nowhere to go if we don’t know who we are…We are the pawns. Our voices, our experiences, aren’t part of adoption propaganda.

Karen Vigneault who helps me help adoptees emailed me that we need President Obama to pardon every adoptee from this existing system of identity theft and give us our legal documents: our original birth certificates and adoption records.

I agree.

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More Corruption:

Two prominent reproductive law attorneys, Theresa Erickson and Hilary Neiman, were awaiting sentencing (in 2011) by a US district court after pleading guilty to charges connected with an elaborate surrogacy and baby-selling scheme. The many headlines about this fertility industry scandal are clear on the nature of the criminal activities. NBC San Diego titled its early story “Lawyer Busted in Black-Market Baby Ring”; the Los Angeles Times called it a “scam”; the UK Telegraph ran with “Babies ‘sold for $150,000’ in California.” Even the FBI pulled no punches: Its press release is titled “Baby-Selling Ring Busted.”

Many questions about the baby-selling scandal remain unanswered. How did the perpetrators get away with it for years, when many others in the field must have known about or at least suspected what they were doing? What sentences did the court impose? What will be the effects on the babies who were conceived from anonymous gamete providers in order to be sold, and on their families?

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Previously on Biopolitical Times:

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Notice: Expert committee formed to review adoptions procedures; National Adoption Committee authority revoked in Kenya

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AND I lost a wonderful friend:

Evelyn Stevenson, longtime tribal attorney, advocate and original proponent of the Indian Child Welfare Act, passed away on March 12, 2015 at 9:11am in Ronan, Montana on the Flathead Indian Reservation.  Evelyn was a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and was the second tribal member, and first tribal member woman, to become a licensed attorney.

A wake will begin at noon on Sunday, March 15, 2015 in the Elmo Community Hall in Elmo, Montana..

Tribal news coverage here.

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[My deepest thanks to Karen Vigneault-MLIS for her help and friendship and research on rehoming, the deportation of adoptees and other breaking news… XOX Trace]