If ever anyone wondered about money being the driving force in adoptions, fraud continues to happen in our modern times. It is not just the Georgia Tann scandal of the 1950s that affects my own family.
A government official in Arizona is being charged in an international adoption fraud scheme that involves human smuggling, the sale of children and communications fraud involving more than one state here in the US. The activity was uncovered when concerned hospital workers called the human trafficking tip line.
The alleged criminal transported more than 40 pregnant Marshallese women into Utah over the last three years. He is also an adoption lawyer by profession, licensed in Utah and Arizona. He helped pregnant women travel from the Republic of the Marshall Islands in the central Pacific Ocean to Arizona for the sole purpose of relinquishing their children after birth and placing them for adoption. The women then return to the Marshall Islands.
This activity violates an agreement called the Compact of Free Association enacted in the early 2000s between the U.S. and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, which bars Marshallese citizens from entering the US if their travel is solely for the purpose of giving their baby up for adoption. Unregulated international adoptions exploit the biological mothers’ cultural understanding of what they are participating in. Many women from the Marshall Islands are willing to allow their children to be adopted by US citizens with the intention that their children will benefit from better education opportunities. They expect their child to return to them as an adult.
An adoption through the alleged criminal’s adoption practice costs the prospective adoptive couple $30,000 to $40,000. Sadly, a quick google search reveals that a huge variety of fraud schemes utilizing adoption continues to flourish in our modern times.