Mon, Aug 07, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Child welfare group urges tougher laws to halt baby-selling

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Child Welfare League Foundation has called for stricter laws to prevent the selling of babies, noting that at least 362 children have been sold in the past decade.

Current regulations aren't tough enough, the foundation said last week, adding that most of those convicted for baby-selling received light punishments and retained their medical licenses.

The foundation called for stricter punishments for violators of the Medical Treatment Law (醫療法) and that adoptions be regulated based on "putting the children's welfare first."

The foundation analyzed news stories about baby-selling cases from 1996 to this year and found that only 14 major cases had been solved by the police.

The amount of money exchanged in the cases was estimated to total NT$1.3 billion (US$39.4 million), with an average price of NT$360,000 per child, the foundation said at a press conference last week.

Baby boys cost more than baby girls because more people want boys, the foundation said.

Foundation chief executive officer Wang Yu-min (王育敏) said that based on her group's experience, pregnant minors usually give up their babies because of financial difficulties, career hopes or family disapproval.

"These children supply the baby-selling market," she said.

She said many of those involved in the sales were medical professionals because it was easy for them to issue fake birth certificates or guarantee the babies' health to buyers, Wang said.

"This attracts many couples who do not wish to reveal a child's true identity even though they have paid high prices for them. [That is why] the sellers usually revert to their previous employment after leaving prison," she said.

The foundation said 91.9 percent of the cases it reviewed occured in Taipei.

The anonymity and convenience of the Internet might make it a new channel for selling children, the foundation warned.

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