International Adoptions

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  1. Value of the International Adoption Trade$1.3 Billion

International Adoptions

News, information and statistics about international adoptions and the black market in child adoptions from foreign countries. Data collected from security agencies and other public information sources.

A woman in Nigeria was arrested by anti-human trafficking unit for selling her newborn baby.

According to media reports, the woman worked as a prostitute and already had two children who were being taken care of by her mother. Due to the inability of take care of another child, the woman made arraignments with a local broker to find another woman who could buy the child.

The broker found a childless woman who paid $2650 (430,000 Nigerian Naira) for the newborn baby. The broker then paid the baby’s mother $925.

Buying babies from pregnant women is a growing black market in Nigeria.

(See more human trafficking victims and the prices sold to traffickers.)

Source:  “22-year-old mother sells own baby for N.4million,” The Sun (Nigeria), May 25, 2014.

In a single case investigated by Guatemalan security services, $46.7 Million of Sinaloa drug cartel money was seized and 21 people arrested in December for money laundering violations in Guatemala. A fruit and vegetable was serving as a front company that was sending money to Mexico along with payments of avocados.

Criminal justice programs in Guatemala are seeing an increase in suspicious financial transactions and are reporting more potential money laundering cases. In the first six months of 2013, a total of 76 potential laundering reports were filed that involved $58.2 Million in funds.

In all of 2012, a total of 131 suspicious transactions were filed totaling $31.9 Million. 30 percent of the reports for 2012 were involved possible government corruption, 28 percent were extortion cases, drug trafficking accounted for 17 percent, and the remaining reports were from human trafficking, tax fraud, illegal adoptions and other scams and frauds.

Financial crimes investigators state that a single money laundering case can involve up to 50 bank accounts.

In additional to tracing money through bank accounts, security services have also seized cash from smugglers.  $11.4 Million in cash was seized from people smuggling the money, with most of the seizures taking place at the Guatemalan Airport.

Source:  Araceli Osorio, “Guatemala fights money laundering,” Infosurhoy, January 14, 2014.

Criminal justice programs and social services in Nigeria have seen a rise of baby factories in the country where women bear babies that are sold to couples.  Women between the ages of 14 to 25 are kept in buildings primarily in the south east region of the country. In the buildings, the women are either forced or convinced to get pregnant and to sell the baby for a fee.

According to one woman who was kept in a factory, she was promised $378 (60,000 Nigerian Naira) is she was to produce a boy, and $189 (30,000 Naira) is she conceived a girl.

It was previously reported that these brokers would then sell the babies to couples for $1,500.

Source:  Millie Ibe, “Nigeria: Dismantling the Booming Babymaking Factories,” AllAfrica, November 28, 2013.


Criminal justice officials in Greece stated that in a recent child trafficking case, a Roma woman from Bulgaria gave birth in a public hospital in Greece. The woman was accompanied by a human trafficker who pretended to be her relative. After the birth, the trafficker paid the woman $4,100 (€3,000) for the child and took the baby. The trafficker then turned around and sold the baby to a Greek couple.

Officials state that on average, a childless couple in Greece pays up to $41,000 (€30,000) for a baby, or up to 10 times the amount the trafficker paid the mother.

(More prices of human traffickers worldwide.)

Source:  Giorgos Christides, “Greece’s child-trafficking problem,” BBC News, October 21, 2013.

All human trafficking statistics.

Security agencies in Brazil registered 263 cases of human trafficking in the first half of 2013. The number of cases reported was 1,500 percent higher than the 17 human trafficking cases reported in the first half of 2012.

170 cases between January to June 2013 involved foreign nationals being trafficked into Brazil, while 90 cases were of domestic trafficking.

Of the international cases, 42 were for labor trafficking, 2 were of organ trafficking, and the rest were for sex trafficking.

64 of the domestic trafficking cases were for sex trafficking, 25 for labor trafficking and 1 case of illegal adoptions.

Source:  Miriam Wells, “Reports of Human Trafficking Rise Dramatically In Brazil,” Insight Crime, October 10, 2013.

Security service personnel in Nigeria found a baby selling industry where new born babies are taken from their mothers and sold on the black market. In one such clinic, most of the mothers were unmarried and had unplanned pregnancies and were either persuaded or voluntarily sold their baby.

The mother would receive $200 for her baby when sold to the broker, who may also serve as the midwife. The broker then sells the baby to another party for $1,500. Although there are rumors that the babies are sold to witchdoctors for occult rituals, security forces say that most of the babies are sold to couples who cannot conceive a child.

According to the United Nations, human trafficking is the third largest crime in Nigeria behind fraud and drug trafficking.

Source:  AFP, “Nigerian ‘baby factories’ bring profits and pain,” Google News, September 8, 2013.

In the first seven months of 2013, criminal justice programs in Guatemala reported that 22 children were kidnapped or stolen in the country.

The children are reportedly taken for the purpose of illegal adoptions and organ trafficking. Hospital workers such as doctors and midwives are reportedly involved in the black market trade and assist the kidnappers by creating fake identification papers such as birth certificates.

Source: Marguerite Cawley, “Guatemala Children Stolen for Illegal Adoption, Organ Trafficking,” Insight Crime, August 6, 2013.

Security services in Indonesia broke up a “baby farm” where mothers were being paid between $160 to $250 (1.6 Million and 2.5 Million Indonesian Rupiah) for their babies.

The baby traffickers would search for babies through maternity wards and look for unmarried or poor mothers and offer to purchase the baby. Once the group checked on the health status of the baby, they would then obtain birth certificates and other documents from corrupt officials.

Between November and December 2012, police state that up to 12 babies were bought and sold.

Police also believe that many of the babies are sold abroad for international adoption agencies. Police discovered one baby with a legitimate passport and a $500 ticket in its name to Singapore.

(Additional trafficker prices.)

Source:  Michael Bachelard, “Thousands of babies sold on Indonesian black market,” Sydney Morning Herald, May 11, 2013.

According to a report by the Associated Press, in 2013 there were 100,000 children living in orphanages in Cambodia.

An anti-trafficking organization in the country estimates that up to 70 percent of the orphans have at least one parent living.

Source:  Associated Press, “Cambodia shuts foreign-run orphanage accused of beating children, human trafficking,” Washington Post, March 25, 2013.

During the time period of 2004 to 2012, the number of international adoptions of children from Africa increased nearly 400 percent. In total, the number of children who were adopted from countries in Africa by parents in other countries during the 8 years was over 41,000.

Over two thirds of the children in 2009 and 2010 came from Ethiopia.  There are over 70 adoption agencies in Ethiopia, with 15 agencies that only refer children to the United States. In 2010, parents in the United States adopted over 11,000 children from over 100 countries.

Reported prices paid to adoption agencies in Africa by parents is between $10,000 to $30,000.

Child experts report that many of the orphans adopted from Africa actually have at least one living parents and were taken by child traffickers or sold by their parents.

Source:  “Adoption from Africa: Concern over ‘dramatic rise’,” BBC News, May 29, 2012.