Illegal Adoptions in Guatemala

in Transnational Crime

Voice of America News has an article highlighting the black market trade in adoptions that is currently taking place in Guatemala.

Every year, thousands of people from the United States visit the Central American nation of Guatemala, not just for tourism, but to adopt babies. Last year, more than 4,000 Guatemalan children were adopted by US citizens. But critics say the demand for young Guatemalan children has created an illicit market in which babies are bought and sold and, in some cases, even stolen from their birth mothers.

Prospective parents from the United States are known to pay tens of thousands of dollars to be able to adopt a baby from Guatemala.

Acquiring a baby here usually costs around $30,000, although the US embassy has evidence of local lawyers milking adopting parents for as much as $70,000. Since the adoption process in Guatemala is so lacking in controls, stories of abuse are abundant.

The 2005 Eu report on Organized Crime(PDF) stated that an estimated 1 million children were involved in illegal adoptions in a market worth 1 billion Euros.

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