U.S. Congress: Stop Ignoring Sexual Exploitation of Adopted Children

Child sex trafficking happens every day, all over the world, and is notoriously hard for authorities to track. Adopted children are particularly vulnerable to being forced into child sex rings, especially once they cross international borders. With today's communication resources, it is also very easy for adoptive parents to "re-home" children to strangers using the Internet. Why, then, is the U.S. leaving children vulnerable by failing to protect them with re-homing or international adoption regulation?

A Reuters investigation in September 2013 uncovered adults on social network sites like Yahoo and Facebook discussing the exchange of adopted children. In these online groups, parents were able to give children away in a matter of days with little to no legal intervention. The investigation found that these exchanges were easy to carry out because of a loophole in adoption legislation. Although an initial adoption must go through the court system to be legalized, adoptive parents can then "re-home" a child by simply signing a power of attorney document granting all government benefits and guardianship to someone else. Another investigation at the Tampa Bay Times found many cases of people using Internet ads to "sell" children and teens into sex slavery.

The Reuters investigation found no state, federal or international laws even acknowledging the problem of re-homing. It also found no system of authority tracking what happens to a child after being brought to the U.S.

Because of the U.S.'s failure to protect children adopted from overseas, countries such as China and Russia have placed restrictions on Americans who want to adopt. Russia has banned U.S. citizens entirely from adopting Russian children.

According to Reuters, the U.S. State Department oversees foreign adoptions, but has long maintained that crimes against internationally adopted children in the U.S. are state and local officials' responsibility. Even when adopted children are "re-homed" and passed from state to state, even when communication is conducted in secret through private messages bulletin boards online, the State Department expects local authorities to keep track of these lost children.

Speak up and let U.S. Congress know that adopted children deserve better. Lax and non-existent adoption regulation has made overseas adoption agencies understandably cautious in adopting children to U.S. families. This limits the opportunities of children who desperately need every possibile chance to live a happy life with a stable, supportive family. The longer the U.S. lets re-homing problems go unchecked, the less chances children will have to be adopted, and the more adopted children will be exposed to abuse.

U.S. Congress—


With today's communication resources, it is very easy for adoptive parents to "re-home" children to strangers using the Internet. Why, then, is the U.S. leaving children vulnerable by failing to protect children with re-homing or international adoption regulation?


Investigations by Reuters and the Tampa Bay Times have uncovered the online exchange of children between adoptive parents. The investigations found that sexual predators often end up in custody of these children due to lack of regulation. 


The Reuters investigation found no state, federal or international laws even acknowledging the problem of re-homing. It also found no system of authority tracking what happens to a child after being brought to the U.S.


Please address this issue with a system of regulation for re-homing and international adoption practices. The longer the U.S. lets re-homing problems go unchecked, the more adopted children will be exposed to abuse.


Sincerely,

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