Durban – A Netherlands based non-governmental organisation, Against Child Trafficking (ACT), has called for the Dutch government to do a comprehensive review of all adoptions from South Africa and open a criminal investigation.
The children’s right advocacy organisation which opposes inter-country adoption alleged that inter-country adoptions in the Netherlands have been “riddled with scandals”. The organisation was responding to the recent reports by Sunday Tribune where a father of two daughters from Kwangcolosi, near Hillcrest, complained about the adoption of his girls by a Netherlands couple in 2014.
The father believed there were discrepancies in the adoption process as he was not made aware, he now wants the process reviewed and his girls returned home.
The girls, aged six and eight at the time of adoption, lived in Ikhethelo Children’s Village in Kwanyuswa near Bothas Hill, after their mother died.
The Camperdown Children’s Court granted an order for the girls to be adopted by a foreign couple after an investigation by an adoption agency which facilitated the process.
Arun Dohle, director at ACT, said inter-country adoptions in the Netherlands were riddled with scandals, calling the Dutch government to take the case seriously. He said there were several adoption cases from South Africa that had to be reviewed, and others were still before the court.
According to the Netherlands government, there were 16 children adopted from South Africa last year.
Dohle said they had written several requests to Central Adoption Authority and Committee Investigating Inter-country Adoption in the past, in the Netherlands to review all South African cases.
“In 2008, it was already clear that adoptions from South Africa were a mess and there is corruption. Given the current case, we request that all the adoptions from South Africa will be investigated,” he said.
Dohle said although there has been a decline in adoptions over the years, it was sad to learn about parents or relatives complaining about their children being taken from their country.
He said the inter-country adoption had become a demand-driven market.
“It is much better to help children and their families where they are.
“Inter-country adoption undermines the setting up of social support systems. Children are not commodities. There was a Parliament advisory committee that was established in 2016 which made a recommendation that inter-country adoption should stop, but it continues.
“It has been legal trafficking since the 1970s, and it is really sad to read about it. Kids should be returned to their parents and they need to be compensated,” he said.
Dohle said he was still waiting for the response from the government on their request, which would inform their way forward.
Neither the Netherlands’s Central Adoption Authority nor the investigating committee has responded to the Sunday Tribune questions by the time of publishing.
The matter was also receiving attention from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development, which has instituted an investigation into the adoption of the two girls.