Norway’s top body for international adoptions on Tuesday urged the government to halt all adoptions from abroad for two years pending a government-led investigation into illegal adoptions in several countries, local media reported.
So far, the adoptions are stopped from the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, and South Korea, but the government is due to decide shortly if foreign adoptions will be stopped completely, according to the newspaper VG.
Last year, the Norwegian government appointed a committee to investigate adoptions abroad after investigations revealed that illegal adoptions are taking place in several countries.
The risk of illegality is “real”, and it is at a level that requires a temporary stop until the committee delivers its report and makes recommendations on what a possible future adoption system should look like, Hege Nilssen, the Director of the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir), told the newspaper.
The announcement comes after the VG investigation into illegal adoptions involving Norway revealed last November that children are sold and given false birth certificates in the Philippines.
In its decision, Bufdir wrote that the main reason why adoptions from the Philippines are stopped is that “the risk of document forgery is so great that we cannot be sure that the children’s legal security is safeguarded.”
In the past year, VG published several reports revealing the Norwegian authorities were aware of illegal adoptions from Ecuador and that the government paid large sums to the country.
In May, VG exposed systematic and deliberate cheating in adoption papers from South Korea, also suggesting that the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Families was already aware of this in 2002.
In October, VG exposed that the police in Madagascar demanded bribes to do their part of the job in the adoptions.
According to national statistics, the majority of the children adopted in Norway come from South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Colombia, and the Philippines.
Neighboring Sweden announced in November that it was stopping adoptions from South Korea amid claims of falsified documents on the origins of children adopted from the country.