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As Western families scramble to adopt, Nepalese orphanages have created a dark human industry. Plundering children from vulnerable parents, they are selling them abroad as ‘orphans’ for large sums of money.
“She knew very well that I was his mother. When they came for him, she knew it!” Khanchi, a distraught Nepali mother shouts. Her son was adopted into a Western family who had no idea of her existence. Like many of Nepal’s poor, Khanchi had put her child into an orphanage so that he would receive an education and proper care. They promised she could regularly visit. Instead, the owner of the orphanage, Sabitra, faked the child’s papers and sold him to America. When confronted about what she did Sabitra shows no remorse and an examination of her records shows that she’s done the same with hundreds of children. “There are details for the adoptive parents here. And frequently the name of the biological mother or father and contact details too.” Prospective Western parents visiting orphanages like this are usually confronted with sob stories about the struggles involved in running the institution, asked to donate and then offered a child to adopt for a large fee. Jurgen runs a charity helping re-connect these adopted children with their families. “These people have done this for many years, ruining many lives”, he explains.