Uganda: Govt Tightens Foreign Adoption Rules to Thwart Child Trafficking

ugandaKampala — Child rights campaigners in Uganda have welcomed a new law that restricts fast-track foreign adoptions in which children – often with living parents – can be whisked overseas in a matter of days.

Lawmakers passed a bill this week that requires foreigners seeking to adopt children to live in the east African country continuously for at least one year before applying and bars them from the quicker route of claiming legal guardianship.

“This ends the long wait for a proper legal regime that addresses the welfare and rights of our children,” said member of parliament Bernard Atiku, who initiated the bill.

Hundreds of Ugandan children have been adopted in recent years by foreigners, mainly Americans, some of whom have sidestepped restrictions by winning guardianship within days and then completing the adoption process back home.

Atiku said several children had been trafficked out of the country with no mechanism in place to trace where they end up or who they end up with.

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