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Regulating Corruption in Intercountry Adoption

Updated: Dec 17, 2019

Author: Jordan Bunn


The current regulatory system for intercountry adoption has failed parents, children, and governments. Impoverished parents and children have been exploited by crooked adoption agencies, orphanage directors, and bureaucrats looking to profit from well-meaning prospective parents who will pay significant fees in order to adopt. While the 1993 Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption lays a good foundation for catching and eliminating this corruption, it has not been fully implemented in many developing countries that lack the necessary resources and infrastructure. Some critics want to give up on or significantly modify the Hague Convention’s framework. However, the best way to see the principles of the Hague Convention realized and to deter corrupt practices is to shift some of the administrative burden in intercountry adoption to the better-resourced receiving states. Specifically, this Note recommends that receiving states should have more power to monitor the operations in less developed sending states and to act unilaterally when they detect corruption.


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