17/11/2011 - The Taiwanese legislative passed amendments to the Children and Youth Welfare Act, strengthening regulations governing adoption procedures.
The amendments are meant to plug the loopholes in the current law, which currently carry with them the higher risk for the trafficking of children through adoptions.
Current law only requires court notarization for the completion of an adoption, which creates the conditions of a higher risk of desperate parents handing over children to traffickers or “selling” a child in the form of adoption, seeking the court's approval without a real assessment.
The new amendments aim to create stronger consultative mechanisms to stop this from happening.
Chang Hsiu-yuan, director-general of the Children's Bureau under the Ministry of the Interior, said that about 3,000 local children are put up for adoption every year. Most children come from families where the parents cannot afford to raise them due to poverty, the parents are divorced, or the parents are mentally or physically challenged.
According to the amendments, the adoption of children, with the exception of adoption among relatives, must be arranged through a non-profit, government-authorized adoption brokering organization.
At present, about 13 to 15 percent of children up for adoption every year are adopted by foreign families, most of them going to families in the United States.
The new amendments would also make it so that any person found to be illegally arranging adoptions could be fined a maximum of $10,204 CND.
The new amendment would also give priority to local over foreign adoptions. International adoption has increased significantly in the last few decades, but consensus in literature surround adoption points to keeping children within their home country and culture as the preferred method of adoption.
Coming into force in 1995, the ‘Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption’ stresses that states should make it a priority to keep children in their family of origin if at all possible.
If this is not a viable option, it states that all measures should be taken by states to prevent the abduction, the sale of, or traffic in children.
According to UNICEF, it is difficult to measure the true magnitude of children trafficked annually, especially through tracking legitimate adoptions, as following the documentation in some country may prove challenging.