Paper Orphans: Exploring Child Trafficking for the Purpose of Orphanages

“Paper Orphans: Exploring Child Trafficking for the Purpose of Orphanages” serves as a legal analyses of child trafficking for the purpose of filling orphanages. Children trafficked into orphanages, known as paper orphans, make up a large portion of orphanage population. van Doore points notes a Save the Children survey, which stated that four out of five children in orphanages were not orphans.  This paper focuses on the displacement of the child and intends to determine whether or not this displacement can be determined as trafficking under international law.

van Doore’s analyses examine guiding legal instruments for this topic, which include Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.  The paper also discusses the strong marketability and profitability of orphanages, as well as their exponential growth over the past 25 years.  van Doore points out how families are often deceived or coerced to give up their children to orphanages.  The paper emphasizes the importance of determining legal guidance because without it governments are less likely to face the problem.

The practice of child trafficking and child laundering along with the implications therein are discussed for the purposes of supporting legal conclusions.  van Doore discusses Smolin who points out that the process of inter-country adoptions that send children to other (mostly western) countries for adoption legitimizes an illegal process. Smolin states that the international adoption system treats children the same as a criminal organization treats money laundering.

van Doore’s legal analyses find that there are conclusions to be made in considering paper orphans and their relationships to child laundering and trafficking as they are defined in Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol on the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.  van Doore notes that the current definition of slavery does not coincide with the current definitions of slavery. Instead the Article 1(d) fulfills the requirement for exploitation under the Trafficking Protocol.