Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Child Abduction in Chad - Are the Prospective Adopters Morally Liable?

Further to Diane’s post here, nine people have now been charged with child abduction and fraud in respect of the operations of ‘Zoe’s Arc’ along the Chadian border (RTE News). Those nine are French nationals and Spanish crew members of the plane that was to fly the 103 children to Europe are also charged as accessories to the alleged crime. If it is found that this organization was, in effect, trafficking children to Europe for the purposes of adoption by families there who had each paid in the region of 2000 Euro then this raises – once more – the manner in which children are quickly becoming one of the most alarming commodities in Europe.

The trafficking of children from Africa for the purposes of sexual slavery and pornography is already well documented, but trafficking for the purposes of adoption and – as it seems likely also happens – organ harvesting is now becoming more prominent. In the case of adoption, at least, it is interesting to consider what the liability of those families who had intended to try to adopt these children would be – would it matter whether they knew that at least some of the children would appear not to actually be orphans but to be children who were separated from their families and could be reunified by the ICRC or similar agencies in the future? Would it, indeed, matter to their liability if they were aware that adoption is unlawful in both Chad and Darfur and therefore there would not seem to have been a domestic legal basis for the activities of the organization even if – as we must reasonably assume until such time as we are shown otherwise – they were acting bona fide?

The case, therefore, raises not only questions as to the impact of the proliferation of ‘NGOs’ on populations in the areas in which they operate, but also about the moral and legal liabilities of those who support these NGOs either financially or, in a case like this, by means of providing the ‘market’ for their work.

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