Thursday 01 January 2009
By Michaël Sztanke
Special Report - Caring: humanitarian reports around the world
Caring investigates child trafficking in Cambodia. Despite stricter legislation, the problem is still rampant. On one side are parents who want to foster a child, and on the other, Cambodian parents' poverty which pushes them to sell their own.
Child trafficking, a loose term with negative connotations, is essentially when young offspring are given away to wealthy foreigners in exchange for money.
For lucky adopters, the actual sum is inconsequential. Exhausted after costly and upsetting attempts in their own countries, many gratefully look to smaller, developing nations in their bid to find a child, countries like Cambodia, where widespread poverty forces many locals to consider desperate ways to make ends meet.
Dazzled by the promise of a better life for their loved ones, parents and families readily relinquish control and sign away their offspring. But an increasing number of abuses of the system by rogue adoption agencies has prompted many Western governments to immediately suspend all adoptions of Cambodian children.
In France, the government has only just recently lifted the ban that had been in place for some five years, but French authorities are enforcing stringent tests and vetting on would-be parents.
In Cambodia, there are as yet few laws against the widespread corruption and not enough incentive to make parents stop this tragic practice of selling their children.