Laos probes sale of babies to foreigners

2012-02-06 17:39
Hanoi - Laos is investigating a retired justice ministry official for allegedly selling adopted babies to Americans, Canadians and Australians for thousands of dollars each, a report said.

The official is accused of seeking out unwanted babies in poor, rural areas, obtaining adoption papers and selling the infants, all aged between one and two years, on to foreigners for up to $5 000 each, according to Radio Free Asia.

He has been taken in for questioning and the adoption process for children thought to be caught up in the scam has been suspended pending the results of the investigation, RFA reported.

Mike Pryor, press officer at the US Embassy in Laos, said Laos "suspended foreign adoptions on January 9" but did not offer any specific reason for the move.

"Adopting a child for sale... is a crime related to human trafficking, no question about it," a government official told RFA.

The justice ministry is probing how the scam worked, including whether the birth parents sold their infants, which can constitute a human trafficking offence punishable by a three-to-five-year jail term, the official said.

Familiar with employees

It was not clear how many children were involved in the alleged adoption ring.

The retired official was "familiar" with most of the justice ministry's employees and had often applied for adoption and naturalisation papers, the report said.

Laos is listed as Tier 2 - out of three - in the US State Department's 2011 anti-human trafficking report, which praises the government's "significant efforts" to combat the problem.

The US however said the government had "never administratively or criminally punished any public official for complicity in trafficking in persons".

It said endemic corruption, a weak and ineffective judiciary and a failure to investigate or prosecute local-level officials suspected of involvement in trafficking were also key problems.

The Lao National Assembly approved a National Plan of Action on human trafficking in 2007 but it has not been endorsed by the prime minister's office, the state department report adds.

Read more on:    laos  |  human trafficking
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Road Accident Fund: #Takecharge to make roads safer

Hot on the heels of its Easter meet the #FutureYou campaign, the Road Accident Fund (RAF) will once again take its road safety message to the public - Sponsored.

 
 

Stay safe

Juvenile pillion riders? Play safe...
First-aid kit: What you need in YOUR car
Hey, lazy! Get outta the disabled bay!
Yaris: Perfect car for back-seat babes
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You have the chance to inspire, influence and teach today in your own innovative and unique way. Be careful of becoming too fixed...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.