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Adoption into a family provides a child with the best alternative for rehabilitation of
orphans, abandoned or surrendered children. In India under the Supreme Court
Directive in the matter of child adoption, the Central Ministry of Child Welfare has
established a nodal agency, the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) to
streamline adoption procedures for both in-country and inter country adoptions. All
Indian children regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, medical limitations deserve to be
rehabilitated in permanent homes. But only about 3500 legal adoptions are taking place
annually from India while more than 44,000 children are in various foster care homes or
Indian Adoption takes place under the provisions of three pieces of legislation - the
Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act 1956 which provides for adoption of Hindu
children by Hindu religion parents. The Guardians and Ward Act 1890 enabling non
Hindus to adopt children and the Juvenile Justice (Care and protection of children) Act
of 2000 as amended in 2006 covering all communities.
For healthy practice of adoption under CARA guidelines Adoption Coordinating
Agencies (ACAs) are formed state wise to monitor and facilitate adoptions while State
Welfare Department placement agencies are given license to nurture abandoned or
surrendered children until they are adopted. Orphans who cannot be given for adoption
are rehabilitated in various orphanages under State Welfare Departments or in private
sector homes approved by State Welfare Departments. On average above 44,000
children are in foster care homes / orphanages in many states. The large majority of
them have been placed in orphanages on account of poor or violent family background,
forced into begging or they are run-away children who have reached metro cities by
While the Central Government and State Governments are making efforts to simplify
adoption procedures and are encouraging placement agencies to accept abandoned or
surrendered children and to nurture them till they are adopted, a big racket of illegal sale
of children for adoption exists in many states. Because illegal adoptions are secret

only a small fraction of such adoptions are reported or recorded. There is no

authentic factual data on the adoption of illegal children.
It is reported that many illegal adoptions are taking place outside the adoption
guidelines of CARA, through hospitals, nursing homes and agencies which are not
recognized by state government or CARA. Most of the cases reported are from Andhra
Pradesh (Hyderabad) Karnataka (Bangalore) U.P. (Lucknow), M.P. (Jaipur) & Punjab
Modus operandi of such illegal adoptions is:1. A biological pregnant mother who does not want to keep the child after delivery due
to poverty or does not want a girl child or of getting pregnant before marriage, soon
after the delivery in a hospital allows the new born child to be taken by hospital staff
and given to a prospective adoptive parent who pay huge sums of money ranging
from Rs. 10,000 to 50,000.

2. In rural or tribal areas illiterate and poor mothers are forced to sell a child under the
threat of relatives and with the help of police officers.

3. New-born children are stolen from the general wards of government hospitals and
then sold through intermediaries to prospective adoptive parents.

Most of the illegal sale of children for adoption is hospital centred and related to
unwanted pregnancies. Some of the reported cases are in Lucknow (UP) where an IPS
Officer was booked for facilitating illegal adoption following directive from National
Human Rights Commission (NHRC).to enquire and take action against the IPS officer
for facilitating illegal adoption.

In Kerala there are many cases reported in Kozhikode, Kochi, Trivandrum and Quilon of
the illegal sale of children born in hospitals. Recently in August 2010, TV Media
exposed a real story of a baby sold for Rs. 10,000 from a private hospital without the
consent of the mother who lodged a complaint to the police.

In Maharashtra (Pune) a case was filed by Central Bureau of Investigation CBI in the
High Court of Maharashtra for charging a Managing Trustee of a placement agency with
forgery, kidnapping, cheating and sale of child.
Baby selling and baby buying are illegal in many countries. It comes under the category
of adoption fraud. Various adoption frauds are:

Sale of a child illegally without following any legal legislation or guidelines set up
by Govt. Agencies.

Adoption agencies charging exorbitant fees than prescribed under the law.

Agency offering a child to more than one couple and accepting money without
intension to complete the adoption.

Collecting money from a prospective adoptive parent but dont give money to the
biological mother who has agreed the sell the child.

Giving a HIV Positive baby without revealing the fact to an adoptive mother.

How we can stop this?

1. The best tool to avoid adoption frauds is through conducting awareness
programmes on legal procedures of adoptions, legal implications of such
sales and punishment notified under the law for frauds under adoptions
among persons involved in the chain of illegal adoptions such as ward boys /
attendants in hospitals / nurses / medical practitioners who conduct deliveries
/ social workers / social activists / NGOs involved in welfare of children and
police officials.
2. Keeping strict vigilance especially Govt. Hospitals and Private Nursing Homes
in delivery wards and monitoring records of delivery and discharge reports
with verification of new born babies.
3. Posting social workers in delivery wards on a voluntary basis to monitor
mother and child and verify relevant records.
4. Provide TV and press media with publicity materials regarding legal adoption








Children who are orphans or born out of wedlock or born into families that cannot afford to bring
them up are put up for adoption. This adoption is meant to be through registered agencies that are
meant to ensure the antecedents of the adopting couple and ensure that the child is protected in
its adopted home. The complexity with trafficking for adoption is that the children may often
land up in situations where they are much better off than they would have been in an orphanage,
or even being put in foster care within the country. Nonetheless, the very nature of the
transaction wherein there is sale and purchase of the child, makes it trafficking.
Much attention was drawn to trafficking of children through adoption when two voluntary
organizations in Hyderabad were booked for selling children to foreigners in the name of
adoption. This was highlighted by the media as child-export racket and child smuggling
racket that was busted in Andhra Pradesh and 172 children rescued. The police raided a
crche run by the Good Samaritan Evangelical and Social Welfare Association in Mahendra
Hills, Hyderabad to find that 56 infants, 52 of them girls, procured from poor tribals and other
families were kept there for adoption by childless couples from foreign countries. According to
the police, the Director of the Association was selling the infants to foreigners for US$2,0003,000 per child. Another organisation, Action for Social Development, set up in 1985 in
Gandhinagar in Hyderabad, got permission from CARA in 1991 to give children in adoption to
foreigners. The organization was running three crches at that time. In their Gandhinagar
crche there were 124 children (114 girls and 10 boys) aged 7 years to less than 1 year. Many
were infants from Mahbubnagar, Rangareddy and East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh. In
1993, a case was registered against the NGO for irregularities in documentation of adoption.
Their license was suspended, but in 1998 it was renewed while the case was still pending
(Maiti. Vol.2 No. 1. Jan.-March, 2000. 15)

According to newspaper reports, the organisations involved used to employ agents to procure
children from poor tribal families by offering hefty amounts. The forged willingness affidavits
procured from the parents by these organizations to obtain visas for the infants were found. In
April 2001, another such racket being run by the wife of an IPS officer, Ms. Amita Sen, was
busted in Andhra Pradesh. This recent case has for the first time exposed the intra-State
proportions of trafficking for and through adoption. John Abraham Memorial Home, the Tandur
based NGO caught this time, was also found to be active in Gulbarga district of Karnataka.
The Andhra Pradesh government has finally woken up to child trafficking and has decided to
tighten the rules of adoption. The action follows the recovery of 34 babies from a fake child
adoption agency in the city on Friday evening and also reports that 28 children have died during
the last two months in a childrens home at Tandur, run by a so-called NGO Child trafficking
activity was reported from five districts - Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda, Rangareddy, Medak and

Hyderabad. Parents, those belonging to tribal groups and poor classes are being exploited for
relinquishment of their children on grounds of poverty and for their better placement with
adopting parents abroad.
(The Hindustan Times. 22 April, 2001)

Arguing against trafficking for and through adoption does not imply putting an end to adoption
or discouraging people from adopting by making the adoption procedures difficult for the
common man. It is only to say that adoption procedures need to be streamlined and there has to
be regular monitoring of the process.
The Special Rapporteur Ms. Santos elaborates that those who argue that intercountry adoption is
exploitative, complain that it encourages the purchase of children, which in turn thwarts the
development of childrens services in the developing world and is destructive of a childs
heritage. (Calcetas-Santos.op.cit.)