Lawyers in China have passed out a warning to parents that they may be accused of child trafficking if they use websites and online messaging tools to facilitate baby adoption. The government is taking strict measures against citizens who are said to be transacting such illegal online businesses.
According to reports, clamping down on suspects has been a hard nut to crack due to the stealth nature of the transactions.
Bids for unwanted babies and subsequent financial settlements are executed secretly through QQ instant messaging software [a popular chat app in China]. A report says people share secret information via half-open online groups within the network.
“People who would like to take part in related chats have to be verified by the group founder” so its members will be a network of people who are inter-connected. In this way, the links remain unbroken in most cases, keeping the government’s prying eyes out of the way.
One of the exposed group chats reveals a member who informed others that she will be giving birth next month, adding that her child will be up for adoption because she can’t afford the financial requirements.
She however, asked interested families who will assure her that the baby will be well taken care of. The pregnant mother requested for some “cash gifts” as a sign of appreciation for her “kindness”.
Illegal child adoption is a booming business in China for a lot of reasons which include: family pressures, infertility, and cash rewards.
A young man who’s also a member of the QQ group chat said he’s over 40 but has no child. He’s hoping to get a chance to adopt a baby boy as soon as it becomes available. The number of babies on sale are far below demand.
Babies who are already a few months old can also be sold.
A report from Beijing News confirms such babies can be put up for online adoption with birth certificates readily available for purchase at about 20,000 yuan ($2,990).
Wang Youyin, a lawyer in Beijing, said it is illegal to adopt kids in this way.
According to Chinese law, adoption has to occur through the civil affairs department.
However, online adoption is flourishing because it provides a cheaper and easier channel for parents. It also reflects a weak legal consciousness among the general public.