Heads Of Adoption Center In India Arrested Over Child Trafficking
Indian police arrested the heads of an adoption center responsible for trafficking babies in the Jalpaiguri District of West Bengal this past weekend. The child-trafficking racket is alleged to have sold over a dozen babies to foreign couples since its establishment in 1986.
The Bimala Shishu Griha Center was a government-approved NGO that served as a children’s home and shelter for destitute women. On February 18, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested the chairperson, Chandana Chakraborty. The following morning, the chief adoption officer, Sonali Mondal, was also taken into custody. The CID is also investigating if the women were trafficked to the center in order to use their children to sustain the racket.
Further enquiries have revealed that BJP Mahila Morcha leader, Juhi Chakraborty, was also involved in the scheme. CID officers disclosed that she had been named in the First Information Report and is accused of assisting the adoption center in gathering funds and acquiring the required permissions from government organizations in Delhi. In response to her alleged role and relationship with Chandana Chakraborty, the BJP leader said, “I advised her to approach necessary forums. That was it.”
The baby racket not only engaged in trafficking but also greatly exploited the demand for adoption from countries like the U.S., Singapore, and France. Foreign couples looking to adopt in India are met with a tedious, lengthy, and bureaucratic process, thus impelling them to take advantage of the already thriving illegal adoption market.
A police officer reported that in 2015 a French couple paid $23,000 for a child. Thus far, the CID has corroborated 4 cases of infants from six to fourteen months old being sold to bidders who were responsible for bringing the babies to Kolkata and sending them abroad.
In November 2016, 18 people were arrested in connection with an inter-state trafficking racket in the same state. Baidya Clinic and Sohon Nursing carried out the operation with the help of an NGO in the Baduria locality of North 24 Parganas.
Human trafficking is a growing problem in India with government crime data recording 25 percent increases of cases in 2015 compared to 2014. Around 40 percent of these cases involve the trafficking of children. Law enforcement continues to struggle to address these cases.