The adoption of young Asian children by western nations has increased by more than 100 percent in the past two years.
MVs EXTERIOR Thai children in playground. (8 shots)
GV INTERIOR Government child adoption agency.
MVs Children eating
MV Baby in cot
MV Children eating
GVs EXTERIOR Teenage girls walking along streets. (10 shots)
MVs Children in playground. (2 shots)
MV Women walking along street.
MVs Babies in costs (2 shots)
MV Children in playground.
TRANSCRIPT: REPORTER: "From the very beginning the Asian adoption business has been under fire, but the intrusion of large-scale corruption finally forced the Thai government to intervene. Initially the children were available with a minimum of fuss and money. But gradually so-called adoption agencies began to appear to cater to the increasing number of foreigners seeking children. Finally police in Bangkok raided one adoption agency, and found more than 30 children, some in poor health, and ranging in age from five days to four years awaiting sale to European couples. Most had been purchased from impoverished parents. Others had simply been kidnapped.
In the space of only a few weeks, most of these agencies have disappeared, and the children left in government orphanages like this centre.
In another move to improve its international image, Thailand is clamping down on European and Thai travel agencies which procure young women to work as prostitutes in foreign countries. The government has compared the system to white slavery. Authorities say at least one thousand such women have been flown to West Germany alone and until the crackdown at least 20 Thai girls were being flown to Australia each month for prostitution. Many of the girls have been left deserted and penniless in foreign countries. Already the West German and Thai governments have agreed to cooperate in apprehending those responsible for the racket. And the girls themselves are now finding it extremely difficult to obtain passports and visas.
Both the children and young girls are surplus to requirements here in Thailand. Unfortunately they've both been exploited, and in the process Thailand has been labelled as an exporter of young women and children. That's an image this country is desperately trying to improve. But it does mean that many children will forego the opportunity of ever acquiring parents."
Initials VS 15.00
REPORTER: GARY NEAT
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The adoption of young Asian children by western nations has increased by more than 100 percent in the past two years. But there's been mounting criticism of the manner in which the children have been adopted, with prospective parents often having to buy them for over 1500 pounds sterling (2600 US dollars). Many of the children have come from Thailand, but the Thai government is now taking action to stop what had become a lucrative racket. Here's an Australian report.