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Netherlands suspends foreign adoptions over abuses and corruption

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In this June 28, 2018 photo, a boy stands next to a staircase while looking out from the Nest of Hope orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
In this June 28, 2018 photo, a boy stands next to a staircase while looking out from the Nest of Hope orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery
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The Netherlands announced on Monday that adoptions from abroad are being suspended after a report found the government has been "too passive" when confronted with allegations of abuses in the adoption procedures.

An independent committee, tasked in 2018 to investigate, found that in the cases it reviewed "various types of abuses occurred structurally".

These include "forgery of documents, child trafficking, fraud and corruption" as well as "unethical acts such as giving up children under false pretences or under moral pressure".

The committee — which looked at adoptions from 1967-1998 from Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka — found that in certain cases the government was aware of the abuses but did not intervene effectively and concluded that the "system contains inherent vulnerabilities".

Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker said in a statement that "it is painful to conclude that the government has not done what was expected of it.

"The government should have taken a more active role in intervening in cases where there were abuses."

The government has suspended all new adoption procedures although those already underway will be allowed to proceed.

It also said it needs to "restore its damaged relationship with adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents and families" with a national expertise centre to be set up to support adopted people in seeking their birth families.