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Adoption: A $100 Million Industry in Ethiopia - Report
Last September Australia's Foreign Correspondent program aired a disturbing video which exposed a booming international adoption trade out of control in Ethiopia. In the wake of the investigative work by Australia's ABC, the Australian government has suspended all international adoptions from Ethiopia. The Australian Attorney General plans to send a delegation to Ethiopia in early 2010 to hold discussions with representatives from the Ethiopian Government as well as our representatives in Ethiopia, it said on its website.
Ethiopia has become a fertile ground for international adoptions. It’s estimated thirty children leave the country a week. Across the city, hotel foyers have become clearing houses, departure lounges for many families and their adopted children. This is the scene in just one hotel in Addis Ababa. And the website You Tube is plastered with new parents’ home movies.
The crude reality is that children have become a big Ethiopian export. A child welfare agency here estimates international adoptions are generating revenue for the government of around one hundred million dollars a year, and the government is showing now sign that it is going to jeopardise that income for the sake of the children.
Ethiopia is not a signatory to the Hague Convention which requires international adoption be used only as a last resort. So as a result, a completely unregulated industry has grown up. More than 70 agencies operate here, almost half are unregistered. Corruption, fraud and deception are rife. The unscrupulous practices of this industry alarm one of the country’s top human rights lawyers, Mehari Maru.
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