With many unregistered orphanages in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal housing thousands of trafficked children, the thriving market for illegal adoption is a very lucrative business. The high demand from the West for adoptive children is fuelling this growing trade.
According to RT
, it has now emerged that 80 per cent of the children that were put up for adoption already had parents.
Uneducated parents in the outlying villages, with little money, are easily persuaded to give up their children for a mere $15 and the promise of a better life and good education for the children. The children are then sold on to the approximately 500 illegal orphanages in the city. From there an orphaned child can then fetch up to $25,000 if sold on to families from abroad.
In Nepal child rights organizations estimate that there are currently around 15,000 children living in orphanages in the city, although these numbers are difficult to keep track of, as many of the orphanages are not registered or regulated by the government.
Apparently conditions in Kathmandu’s illegal orphanages are appalling and there are many reports of abuse and of children being forced into work.
The Nepalese government has done relatively little to stop the trafficking in children and currently there is no policy that effectively regulates children's homes in Nepal. Also, the state does not provide funding to orphanages, forcing them to make ends meet however they can.
Ramesh Bhomi from Nepal’s Children Organization
says the government ban has only tackled part of the problem by freezing international adoptions.
Bhomi is the owner of 11 legal orphanages throughout Nepal. These orphanages previously received $5,000 for every child that was adopted internationally, which then went towards the running of the orphanages.
“It has been difficult for us to run the homes after the suspension of international adoption because we still have to provide for the daily necessities of every child in the home and take care of their medical bills too,” he said.
also reported back in September 2011 that hundreds of Nepalese orphanages were being run as businesses, filled with children who would have been with their families, but for the fact that orphanage owners wanted to make money in child trafficking.
This has caused the freeze on international adoptions, but unfortunately has not solved the problem.