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Type of document: News
Topic: Evaluation
Trafficking patterns
Geographic descriptors: Indonesia
Language: English
Date of publication: 19 November 2004
Long Abstract: Despite its enforcement, the controversy surrounding Law No. 23/2002 on child protection is not subsiding at all, and it may have contributed to an increase in child trafficking, a leading activist says. The government-sanctioned adoption agency Sayap Ibu Foundation claimed they were experiencing a decline in the number of legal adoptions since the enactment of the law. "Fewer and fewer abandoned children have been adopted as only a few have been brought to the foundation," chairwoman of the Yogyakarta-based foundation, Ciptaningsih Utaryo, told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. Most of the children brought to Sayap Ibu were either mentally retarded or had serious physical disabilities, as some were victims of failed abortions. Many of them are unwanted children from out-of-wedlock couples. "If this is a sign of a wealthier community, then it is no problem. However, I'm afraid it disguises an increase in illegal adoptions out there," Ciptaningsih said. One of the contentious issues in the law is the article that requires all parents who want to adopt to be of the same religion as the child. "Since the very beginning, I have opposed such legislation. Why should we bother about a child's religion? Many of them are infants who do not even understand religion yet. They just need a loving, caring family," she said. The law, she added, might prevent a child from being adopted by a family merely because of the difference in religion and thus give an impetus for illegal adoptions. "Religion matters only in cases of foster parents. I cannot understand if a child's religion is taken into account. It is a type of discrimination," she said. She expressed a fear that illegal adoption, baby "marketing" and child trafficking would increase if the discriminatory practice remained unresolved. "Many people could easily go to a hospital, meet women who do not want their babies, pay some money and take the babies. That is child trafficking," said Ciptaningsih.
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