Saturday, January 23, 2010

Making a Business Trafficking Babies

The L.A. Times' interview with the primary traffickers at the center of the Hunan scandal brings clarity to what was happening in Hunan, Jiangxi, and other Provinces in late 2005. It is a picture of greed, with orphanage directors competing with cash and gifts to receive the healthy children the Duans and others were offering.

Of particular interest to adoptive families are the following revelations:

1) The orphanage intentionally fabricated finding data of children, ultimately preventing adopted children from ever finding their birth families.

2) Contrary to assertions made by the CCAA to the U.S., Canadian, Spanish and Dutch governments, trafficked children were adopted into those countries. Court records contained the names, addresses and passports of many of those families, yet none were contacted about their children's origins.

3) While Hunan was the focus, children from this trafficking group were also adopted into Jiangxi Province. A director in that Province confirms that orphanages in his area pay substantial sums for children.

4) Contrary to conventional wisdom among the China adoption community, orphanage directors were subject to little or no punishment. In fact, the article states that some of the directors were promoted following the episode.

Interested readers will want to join our subscription blog community, which delves into the specific orphanages that participated in trafficking in 2005, and those that still do so today. It is a problem that refuses to go away.

27 comments:

wendy said...

Oh no, here we go again. Don't you just love Chinese orphanage officials!!! If there is a cent to be made off of adoption, they will find a way. It just confirms by suspicions that many (not all)finding ads are just a bunch of lies. Once again, thank you Brian to helping to bring out all this information. Although some adoptive parents may not welcome this information, there are others who do appreciate the truth, even if is something we really don't want to hear. I do believe that most of our children, when they are grown up, would rather know the truth, even if it is a bit painful, than a bunch of lies.

Anonymous said...

http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/lat-china-adopt_kwov9anc20100123133332,0,6283221.photo


"Chen Zhijin, the mother of three convicted child traffickers, shows copies of the passports of U.S. parents who adopted the babies her family trafficked. She says the babies are better off, so no crime was committed."

Brian can you explain this caption under one of the images in this story? CCAA assured all governments that no trafficked children went into their country through these Hunan adoptions. Why do we now see documents with American passports of people who adopted these trafficked children? And if the traffickers and Ms. Demick can obtain these documents showing this trafficking did have US connections, why was the US government unable to connect the dots?

Also of interest to me is this comment made in the article
"His family-run business was racking up sales of as much as $3,000 a month, unimaginable riches for uneducated Chinese rice farmers from southern Hunan province."
And yet this trafficker claims "From 2001 to '05, the ring sold 85 baby girls to six orphanages in Hunan."

How can the family make 3000 dollars per month trafficking only 85 children throughout many years? This does not make sense.

Research-China.Org said...

The passports and logs featured in Barbara's story are part of the court documents from the Hunan trial. They were submitted by the prosecution and the defense in the trial. They include adoption related forms and documents, orphanage logs, etc. Anyone involved in the Hunan trial had access to these documents, including the original reporters, etc. They would, I am sure, also have been available to the various governments like the U.S., Canada, and the Netherlands IF they had requested them.

It appears from the interview that no admission beyond the original trial number of 85 children was made. Although inaccurate, it was in Duan's best interest not to talk about things beyond the trial.

Brian

day by day said...

In reference to #2.... is there any way for us AP's to access the court records that hold this info?

Research-China.Org said...

I'm not sure how the average family would go about doing it. Obviously the material is very sensitive, and needs to be handled discreetly.

Brian

Nora S. said...

This situation is so very sad for all involved. We have a Hunan girl, that was in one of the orphanages involved, with very vague information given as to her finding place. If her parents gave her up willingly then I'd want them to know she is loved and well taken care of. If she was forcibly taken by those "enforcing" population control "laws" then I cry with those families that lost their child in such a horrible way. I don't at all condone child trafficing. Children should not live in orphanages. They need families. Those in China selling babies are breaking the law but there needs to be another way for those not wanting their children to safely pass them on to a family that does want a child. From what I have read there are many families in China that want a child and qualify for a child. Love for the child, honesty, and trust, need to be practiced in placing a child in a family. Money made from foreigners cannot be the motivation. How do we get to the point where the children have families that will love them and raise them and people will not exploit them?

Anonymous said...

Brian:

I was a bit surprised the supposed "trafficker" Duan and his mother spoke so candidly with a forign reporter. Were you surprised? Especially since he had been released early from prison to "take care of his parents." Especially since he still had 5 family members still in prison. If I had been given early release from prison and still had 5 family family members in prison, I wouldn't talk to anyone!! So what gives? Isn't he concerned about possibly being punished again, or making things worse for his relatives still in prison, by talking to the foreign press and providing so much information about unscrupulous orphanage directors? What do you make of him?

Research-China.Org said...

I would suppose that the main reason he was willing to speak was because he felt that he and his family had been set up. He and his family were told by the directors that what they were doing was good, and since the orphanages were state-run they assumed it was legal. He is very angry with the government, as one can see from the interview. But he did need to stick with the government story of 85 children, etc., so as not to get in additional trouble. The orphanage logs, however, reveal that many, many more children were involved than 85. I'm SURE more one this story will be coming out.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian,

Off subject...

I would be interested to know what your view is regarding the 'rotten' shared referral system the CCAA has set up 2 or 3 years ago.
I've been convinced for long that the SN program was 'clean' and 'impartial'.
In a certain way, this seems no longer to be the case.

What do you think?

Research-China.Org said...

Developments in the SN program are raising huge red flags. The large numbers of older children coming into the orphanages (Guangzhou, Nanning, Nanchang, etc.) seem to be coming from FP confiscations. It would also not surprise me to see "relationships" playing a significant role in the availability of SN files. What is surprising to me is that anyone is still surprised by any of it.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian...Could you please clarify what you mean by "larger numbers of older children coming into orphanages"? Do you mean older healthy babies as shown by your finding ad research? How would this relate to the sn referral system? Or, have you noticed an upswing in the number of special needs children (not babies) in these orphanages? Why would fp have any interest in confiscating them? Or am I just mistreading your post?

Research-China.Org said...

I spoke a little about the increased ages of the children adopted from Guangzhou, for example, in this article: http://research-china.blogspot.com/2009/08/orphanage-submissions-for-2009.html

In several orphanages such as Nanning, Guangzhou, etc., the submissions are primarily for children over five years old. These are placed in the SN pool due to their age. Many of these children are being placed on the lists just as they are about to age out of the system. China recognizes the increasing demand for older children as parents get frustrated waiting for NSN referrals. This allows them to obtain older children through "homeless children" sweeps in the large Provincial capitals, as well as having informal and unregistered children picked up by area Family Planning officials.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian, thanks for your most comprehensive answer...

However, there is something I am not sure to catch : "It would also not surprise me to see "relationships" playing a significant role in the availability of SN files."

What do you mean by "relationships"?


Besides, you say " What is surprising to me is that anyone is still surprised by any of it." Well, I must say I am amazed YOU are surprised. In fact, we'we heard for years and years (including from yourself) that the only ethical program was the SN, and "shame on all PAP who are still in line for AYA NSN", isn't that true?
So how come you think we should not be esthonised to discover now SN is "rotten" as well?

Research-China.Org said...

By relationships I mean being a big enough "customer" or having personal relationship with people in the CCAA. There is little trouble seeing agencies exerting influence to keep their customers happy.

As far as the SN program goes, I am disappointed that the CCAA seems to have not allowed the program to continue in a natural way, but has now instituted programs to pull in even SN children. It reaffirms the basic problem of the whole program -- where there is money there will be problems.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian,

What do you suppose any countries will really do now that it is in print that this information exists and that at least some of the children involved were adopted internationally? Do you think any of the families or children will ever find out?

Research-China.Org said...

Countries will not do anything, because it puts them into politically difficult positions, which none want to have to confront. Many families will be able to learn if their child was involved because we have obtained the records of many of the orphanages involved. Sadly, however, most families of trafficked children will never know.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian

Could you tell how many Finding Ads you have spoted for entire 2009and for the whole of China?
Also, whould be very helpful to know the % of SN and NSN amongst those.

Would be interesting to see how the number of FA published has declined for all China since 2004.
In fact, you have already worked on some statistics, but on specific SWI/CWI.

Would be even more insightful to get the WHOLE PICTURE for the WHOLE territory (and I must say, especially for 2009, as knowing how many FA have been published is relevant of the future referrals for 2010).

Thanks
MLC

Research-China.Org said...

We have written several articles that cover the questions you pose. For example orphanage submission rates for 2009 were discussed here:

http://research-china.blogspot.com/2009/08/orphanage-submissions-for-2009.html

The number of SN submissions is something we are working on, and will appear in the next month or so.

Brian

Anonymous said...

I just went through your Sept post re : orphanage submission. What an exercise for you... a lot of work underneath all of it! Thanks.

Are the figures showing NSN + SN? I suppose so.
Also, if I understand correctly, the figures are representative of half a year (january to july 2009), arent't they?
If so, what are the figures for the complete 2009 year then?
Thanks ever so much for your imput.
MLC

Research-China.Org said...

Yes, the submissions include both SN and NSN children. Since we are still collecting finding ads from 2009, we will compile them all around April into another essay. Check back later for that information.

Brian

Anonymous said...

"In several orphanages such as Nanning, Guangzhou, etc., the submissions are primarily for children over five years old"

Most five year olds can communicate rather well - I suspct if they were kidnapped they would say so wouln't they?

Research-China.Org said...

It will indeed be interesting what these kids tell. Adoptive families may assume that the stories relate to "foster" families though, and not fully understand what happened until much later.

Brian

Anonymous said...

We have a child from Chenzhou, Hunan province, adopted in 1999. I was suspicious of the supposed finding place from day one. Someone visited Chenzhou and took a picture of the street for me and it's very busy. No way could a child be placed unobtrusively there--it would have been like putting the baby down on 5th Avenue in NYC!

We also have a child from Wuzhou, Guangxi province, adopted in 2001. Do you have any idea if trafficking was going on in Hunan in 1998? I'm pretty certain the Wuzhou orphanage was legit; they were much more open and have continued to send cards and letters to this day and provided us with a packet of information. Of course I could be completely wrong, too.

Research-China.Org said...

We will be publishing an indepth interview with the Duans later this month, but from their testimony it appears that the trafficking started in 1998-1999. So, your observations could be correct.

More later!

Brian

Anonymous said...

"As far as the SN program goes, I am disappointed that the CCAA seems to have not allowed the program to continue in a natural way, but has now instituted programs to pull in even SN children"
Apparently CCAA has decided that designated list system will be soon finished (unfortunately - since this was a fair system without corruption).
I suppose you have heard from this project alreday, haven't you?
Could you tell more? I must admit I am devastated by this piece of news.
Thanks

Research-China.Org said...

There are always rumors flying around about some aspect of China's program, but I don't see any end to the SN program. In fact, I think it will probably be expanded. But time will tell.

Brian

Anonymous said...

About abandonment sites...not to question anyone's observations about their own child's experience, but I am not sure that busy, open, crowded ones are the sites to be suspicious of. It is easy to slip away, and a baby is quickly noticed. We witnessed the abandonment of a just-walking baby, maybe 14 months or so, a few years ago, in a Yunnan city, in broad daylight on a busy shopping street, by a park. Lots of people, cars, buses. We never noticed the child being left, but suddenly there was a baby alone on the sidewalk, who soon proceeded to toddle off into the busy street. Cars stopped, people gathered. No one attempted to pick up the baby. After 10 minutes or so, the police showed up, questioned people, gathered up the baby and took it away. Big hubbub, lots of headshaking and concern from passers-by, lots of cop sternness. No one in China accidently leaves a baby this size untended. People knew. My China-adopted 13-year-old was the first of us to notice all this, and to figure out what was happening.
The point for us as parents, I guess, is to be careful with how we present our speculations to our children...