GUATEMALA CITY – Nine children being subjected to illegal adoption were rescued Tuesday in the southern Guatemalan municipality of Palin, officials said.
A state prosecutor told Efe that the minors, ranging in age from 1 to 5, were found at a home that did not meet the required standards of hygiene.
The residence was run by the Primavera Association, which had no legal permit to operate in the Palin municipality, only in the Guatemalan capital, he said.
The official said that the three little girls and six boys rescued Tuesday during the operation were taken to the capital and placed under the responsibility of the Attorney General’s Office.
According to the prosecutor, the children were in the process of being adopted out illegally. No arrests were made during the raid because the babysitter was the only adult found there, he said.
Guatemala’s Congress voted in late 2007 for a bill bringing the country’s law into line with the Hague Convention on international adoptions, a pact the lawmakers ratified in May of that year.
The legislature was under pressure to crack down on what experts and activists described as a multi-million-dollar “criminal economy” generated by foreign adoptions of Guatemalan children.
During a 2007 visit, the coordinator of the Hague Convention program, Laura Martinez-Mora, said the adoption situation in the Central American country was “critical.”
She said that Guatemala, a nation of some 13 million people, allowed more foreign adoptions than China, with a population topping 1.3 billion. EFE