Maternity hospital staff forced mothers to abandon their children, who were then passed on for adoption" />

Criminal scheme uncovered in Armenia facilitating illegal adoption of children by foreigners

Maternity hospital staff forced mothers to abandon their children, who were then passed on for adoption

Adoption of Children, SNB, Arthur Vanetsyan, Italy, Maternity Hospital, Sale of Children

The National Security Service of Armenia has uncovered a scheme that facilitated the illegal adoption of children in the country.

More than thirty babies were given to adopting parents from Italy.  Moreover, the procedure for their adoption was made with gross violations of the law.

For what purpose the children were adopted and whether the newborns are at harm of falling prey to organ harvesting is not yet known.

The case has already been referred to the Investigative Committee for a more detailed investigation.

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Talk about the suspiciously large number of adoptions of Armenian children by foreigners began in January 2019.

At that time, changes to the Family Code were being discussed in parliament. Acting Deputy Prime Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said that there had been cases of the adoption of children for the sale of children’s organs:

 “Over the course of several months of my work, I tried my best to unravel this tangle, and I constantly had the feeling that something was wrong here. Everything is very close to disclosure, but I still could not achieve tangible results.  The money we are talking about starts from maternity hospitals and continues on to other institutions, this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

It is interesting that former head of the National Security Service Arthur Vanetsyan objected to Mirzoyan’s statement.

He confidently stated that nothing like this had happened to any of the Armenian babies adopted by foreigners.

“The situation is under our strict control, there haven’t been such cases,” Vanetsyan said.

His words were confirmed by the Prosecutor General of Armenia Artak Davtyan.

The topic of adoption of children by foreigners was closed for the time. But in November 2019, the National Security Service issued a statement about the disclosure of a scheme for the illegal adoption of children.

The message posted on the SNB website says:

“Two citizens of Armenia, using their contacts in one of the republican obstetric institutions, as well as in orphanages, organized the illegal adoption of over 30 children by Italian citizens.”

It turns out that mothers were persuaded to abandon their children.  To do this, those involved in the scheme exerted psychological and moral pressure. Fraudsters chose victims mainly among women who, for some personal reason or because of social problems, were going to terminate their pregnancy.

In some cases, the women were threatened that news of their pregnancy would be made public. There were also cases when mothers were assured that the baby was born sick.  Of course, this information was either not true or was greatly exaggerated.

After giving birth, the criminals received a document that the child had been abandoned,  transferred the newborns to orphanages – often on the basis of fake “diagnoses”.

At the same time, the employees of the maternity hospital, “did not hesitate to take bribes from women in labor for rendered medical services.”

Moreover, if Armenian citizens appeared to adopt a child, members of the criminal group under various pretexts interfered with this process.

According to the law, local citizens are supposed to take priority when it comes to the adoption of Armenian orphans.

Changes to the adoption system

Since the summer of 2019, discussions began in the country on how to change the adoption system, which, according to experts, contains many risks.

Now in the process of granting parental rights, the living conditions of potential parents are taken into account. But parental skills and knowledge are ignored.  Now a new adoption procedure has been developed.  It even provides training courses – both for local and foreigners who want to adopt a child.

“The reforms provide for the implementation of a matching procedure.  A clear comparison should be made of the wishes and requirements of the potential parent.  The procedure will be implemented in two stages.  Many factors will be taken into account, starting with character traits,” says Anahit Kalantaryan, head of the Children’s Department of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

 The new adoption procedure also mandates the introduction of clear control mechanisms.

For example, monitoring visits will be carried out, once every six months a check will be made of the living conditions in which the child adopted by local residents will live.

As for the adoption of children by foreigners: the registration of a child who is a citizen of Armenia is carried out by the Embassy of Armenia at the address of the permanent residence of the adoptive parents.  If there is no diplomatic mission of Armenia in this country, the matter goes to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia.

However, as practice shows, when a child is adopted by foreign citizens, the child’s footprint is lost.

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