23 Aug 2008

Australian govt to investigate kidnapping of Indian children

1:59 pm on 23 August 2008

The Federal Attorney-General's Department in Australia has been asked to investigate claims that Indian children have been stolen from their parents and sold for adoption in Australia.

A report in Time Magazine says that around 30 children were stolen by gangs in India and sold on to adoption agencies before being adopted by familes in countries like Australia.

The report claims the small children are being given false identities and sold to Indian orphanages for as little as $US280.

One child was reportedly kidnapped seven years ago and later adopted by a family in Queensland.

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland says he is aware child trafficking may have involved in two cases.

He says the Government is no longer working with the adoption agencies in question and he is not sure if there are any more cases.

Mr McClelland says he knows where only one of the children is now, but has refused to disclose the location.

Earlier a spokesman for Mr McClelland's department said any matters arising from the investigation would be acted upon and, were relevant, they would be passed on to state and territory authorities.

The ABC reports that the Queensland Government admits some children in the state may have been the victims of the alleged racket.

Queensland Child Safety Minister Margaret Keech says Adoption Services Queensland became aware of the allegations last year.

Ms Keech says the cases of three children adopted in Queensland through Indian and Malaysian adoption agencies have been looked at.

She says one child was adopted outside the timeframe of the alleged racket but two others may have been involved.

Ms Keech says it is a terrible predicament for parents who love their adopted children.

She says the allegations highlight the difficulties with international adoption and the problem of child trafficking.