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Samoan Adoption Scandal

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posted on Dec, 14 2009 @ 12:18 AM
Samoan Adoption Scandal

An adoption agency has stoked anguish among dozens of American families who may have unwittingly received Samoan children who were actually never orphans. Maureen Maher reports.

CBS News

CBS News just did a documentary on this that aired Sat, 12 December 2009

I missed the documentary but was amazed at the information I was able to find. I have not seen it discussed here on ATS either.

The Lost Children

CBS) CBS News will present, "The Lost Children," a "48 Hours" special, on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 10 p.m. ET/PT - the culmination of a two-year investigation by "48 Hours" into one of the largest foreign adoption scams in U.S. history.

Anchored by "48 Hours" correspondent Maureen Maher, who herself was adopted, "The Lost Children" profiles three families - Patti Sawyer, Mike and Kari Nyberg, and Elizabeth and Gary Muenzler - who adopted children from the South Pacific island of Samoa through the Utah-based Focus On Children adoption agency, only to face a heartbreaking decision years later.

The depth of heartlessness that some people will go to never ceases to amaze me.

According to a March 1, 2007 press release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), FOC orchestrated the adoption of more than eighty Samoan children, aged infancy to twelve years,11 by U.S. families, between March 2002 and March 2005. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said it launched the investigation after an immigration official “saw something that didn’t add up, suspected fraud, and kept digging,” said Robert Mather, a field officer director for USCIS in Salt Lake City.

“a scheme that treated children as little more than a commodity.” The defendants, he said, “not only compromised the integrity of our immigration system, they also defrauded numerous well-meaning parents who wanted nothing more than to provide the best possible life for these children.”15

Adoption Samoa

I spent my childhood in an orphanage and foster homes and I can tell you, this is heartbreaking.


[edit on 12/14/2009 by semperfortis]

posted on Dec, 14 2009 @ 12:31 AM
This is heartbreaking, and it almost does not seem possible that something like this could happen in America today. I feel very bad for the families and especially the children, as I am sure that it will affect them for a while.

What kind of people could buy and sell children like they are commodities? This is the worst possible type of fraud, as it has a lasting effect on everyone involved. I am glad that they were caught, and hopefully in the future, the government will pay more attention to who exactly is coming here, especially if there are minor children involved.

When I read these stores, I always wonder why people do not adopt American children, aren't there children here who need parents and a good home? Maybe there aren't, as I would not really know how to verify something like that. It just seems like we should take care of our own first, but that is only my opinion.

posted on Dec, 14 2009 @ 12:37 AM
reply to post by amaranth

It is especially confusing when you consider what you have to go through to get a passport or a drivers license

Checks and checks and checks

It would appear that no one even did a cursory check on this for years..

Our government gets so obsessed with some of the most ridiculous things and seems to not care about the really important issues.


posted on Dec, 14 2009 @ 01:23 AM
...children are a commodity - everywhere, all over the world - this is nothing new... buying / selling children has been going on for hundreds of thousands of years... you can call it adoption but it is still buying a child - there is a contract and money is exchanged - and the biggest participants of this atrocity are christian organizations who claim their efforts are charity based so that their profits are not taxable...

posted on Dec, 14 2009 @ 02:40 AM
Child trafficking is a huge problem worldwide. There are vietnamese children who were taken from their parents at the end of the war.
There was huge publicity and the nurses holding the babies disembarking in a new country made world wide news

The withdrawal of forces from Vietnam was drawing to a conclusion in April 1975 when the Australian Government made a decision to evacuate some war orphans from the vicinity of Saigon before they could fall into the path of the advancing North Vietnamese troops. Planning for the evacuation proceeded rapidly. Arrangements were being made for the Australian adoptions of the orphans whilst a Qantas 747 was chartered to convey the orphans from Bangkok in Thailand to Melbourne under medical evacuation - medivac - conditions.

Two C-130 Hercules of the RAAF's No 37 Squadron were tasked to uplift the orphans from Saigon to Bangkok, considering the hazardous airspace to be penetrated around Saigon. Another C-130 was to be used to fly some of the nurses from Bangkok to Saigon. The plans were to be kept confidential for security reasons until a formal announcement of the operation was made by the Prime Minister immediately preceding the evacuation.

Its since been found out that many of these children were not orphans, but were round up by asking parents to give their children up, there are programs to reconnect these orphans with their still living families.

Most countries use private agencies, whch can be quick for adopting and there is much money to be made, adopting is a expensive excercise. They must adhere to the Hague Conference on Private International Law
However without Government inbound run adoptions the practices for finding children is at times dubious to say the least.

n. Child laundering is a more precise term that refers to the stealing of children who are then sold to adoptive parents as legitimate "orphans." Often the pretense is that the child's parents are dead when in fact the child's parents are still alive. In some cases the children are stolen from the home; in other cases the children are left at orphanages for temporary care or schools for education. These then sell the children using false papers. In some cases the parents may even sell the children
. [8] This trafficking can occur anywhere but is most prominent in poorly regulated countries or where local corruption is a factor. Currently, Guatemala, one of the top sources of adopted children, is being investigated for this sort of corruption.[9] While most international adoptions are not tainted by child trafficking, some problems do exist. Receiving nations such as the United States have implemented safeguards to ensure that adopted children are in fact legally available for adoption. Occasionally, the United States has suspended adoption from certain countries in order to investigate fraud and, where needed, require change from the sending country.[10]
Richard Cross, the lead federal investigator for the prosecution of Lauryn Galindo for visa fraud and money laundering involved in Cambodian adoptions, estimated that most of the 800 adoptions Galindo facilitated were fraudulent--either based on fraudulent paperwork, coerced/induced/recruited relinquishments, babies bought, identities of the children switched, etc.[11][12]

In Guetamala at least 1500 babies a year are trafficked for international adoption.

Other reasons exist also for child trafficking other than aquiring a child for adoption. Children in Australia were focibly liifted from their parents to try and make them "white" This is known as the Stolen Generations and a devasting memory for Indigenous Australians.

In India young girls are forced into prostituion under the guise of a better life with a family overseas :

..... we enticed teenage girls, Khusiman (10) and Nabiran (12) from their houses in the name of offering decent jobs to the Santanagar area of Indian Capital city, New Delhi and later forced them to two pimps.

Cambodia has a huge child sex slave prblem) There are up to 10 000 Vietnamese sex slaves and workers in Camobidia and its not known what percentage of that is children.
Mali children are trafficked to the Ivory coast

Although no substantiated figures exist, an estimated 15 000 Malian children have been “trafficked” to the cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast.12.

300,000 children in the U.S. are at risk every year for commercial sexual exploitation. -U.S. Department of Justice
600,000 – 800,000 people are bought and sold across international borders each year; 50% are children, most are female. The majority of these victims are forced into the commercial sex trade. – U.S. Department of State, 2004, Trafficking in Persons Report, Washington, D.C.
An estimated 14,500 to 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the United States each year. The number of U.S. citizens trafficked within the country is even higher, with an estimated 200,000 American children at risk for trafficking into the sex industry. – U.S Department of Justice Report to Congress from Attorney General John Ashcroft on U.S. Government Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Per
An estimated 2.5 million children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multibillion dollar commercial sex industry – UNICEF
Investigators and researchers estimate the average predator in the U.S. can make more than $200,000 a year off one young girl. – NBC Report by Teri Williams


[edit on 14-12-2009 by zazzafrazz]
Mod edit: Myanmar

[edit on 15 Dec 2009 by Hellmutt]

posted on Dec, 14 2009 @ 06:11 AM
IMO New Zealand needs to step up to the plate and do more to crack down on people smuggling and related scrams . Since New Zealand can punch above its weight in such matters as Afghanistan I think its time to do the same towards the scrum bags that engage in people trafficking . I wouldn't necessary object if the NZSAS trained squads to deal with People Smugglers in the same way they are training anti terrorism squads in Kabul . Maybe the NZSAS should just make the ring leaders who organize People Smugglers in the region quietly disappear .

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