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Netherlands Halts Adoptions from Abroad After Exposing Past Abuses

An inquiry found systemic abuses like child trafficking, lack of record-keeping and government complicity until 1998. Practices have since improved, the government said, but not enough.

THE NEW YORK TIMES —

The Netherlands has temporarily halted all adoptions from abroad after an investigation found that the government had failed to act on known abuses, including child theft and trafficking, between 1967 and 1998.

“Adoptees deserve recognition for mistakes that were made in the past,” Sander Dekker, the minister for legal protection, said on Monday, as the results of the investigative report were made public. “They have to be able to count on our help in the present. And for the future we have to critically ask ourselves if and how to continue adoption from abroad.”

The government formed an independent commission in 2018 to look into international abuses after a lawsuit showed that the Dutch government had been involved in an illegal adoption from Brazil in 1980, and pointed to the possibility of more such cases. Experts said they knew of no other Western country that had stopped international adoptions.

In its report, the commission said it had found systematic wrongdoing, including pressuring poor women to give up their babies, falsifying documents, engaging in fraud and corruption, and, in effect, buying and selling children. In some cases, the Dutch government was aware of misdeeds in adoptions from Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, but did nothing about them and allowed them to continue, the report said.

READ MORE AT THE NEW YORK TIMES

PHOTO CREDIT: josef.stuefer

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