Child Trafficking from Ethiopia under the guise of adoption

After the closure of Romania the adoption agencies opened up Ethiopia for intercountry adoptions. Thousands of children have been send abroad.

The adoption program was riddled with trafficking from day one. Scandal after scandal came out and in 2018 Ethiopia finally stopped intercountry adoptions.

What did exactly happen ? Why and how do we deal today with the victims of this trade ?


Outline/Structure of the Interactive

Introduction/ Background:

In 2006 an internationally operating gang was arrested in Ethiopia and accused of child trafficking, fabrication of documents etc.

This was the second scandal which broke out, but the first really significant one. It turned out, that the scandal reached from Australia over to Austria / Netherlands etc. to the the United States.

A second scandal broke 2-3 years later with relation to canada and also other countries. The authorities ignored all the warning signals and the program continued.


In 2009, we did field research in association with one of the biggest adoption agencies in europe . Wereldkinderen. The outcome is the report " Fruits of Ethiopia".

In my session i will present the report , the findings and what was the aftermath and how authorities continued the child trade nevertheless.
Case Studies:

Further we worked on 3 specific cases.

Bety: A dutch adopted child. We assisted her ethiopian family to revoke the adoption in Ethiopia and they actually met in Ethiopia.

Masho: Masho is the girl from the documentary " Mercy Mercy" . Also here we assisted the ethiopian family to revoke the adoption, but failed in establishing contact.

Amy: We assisted her mother to come to Denmark and meet her daughter. Also we helped her to revoke the ethiopian adoption. The resistance from danish authorities was tremendous, so at the end we actually took Amy - a minor, then in state care- to ethiopia. The story is also documented in the documentary " A girl in return.".

Based on this case studies i will explain what we believe needs to be done in order to assist victims on both sides of the globe.

Learning Outcome

Ways how to deal with people who might have been trafficked for intercountry adoption and to spot the practices as trafficking.

Target Audience

Everyone interested in contempary forms of slavery / other " trafficking " issues.

Prerequisites for Attendees


schedule Submitted 2 years ago

  • Dugal Trimble

    Dugal Trimble - Missing Children, Runaways and the Human Trafficking Connection

    30 Mins

    I would like to propose this presentation entitled "Missing Children, Runaways and the Human Trafficking Connection" as an awareness and educational forum mainly to the law enforcement community and child welfare professionals. I feel that this is important because in this day and age its to easy to dismiss a runaway as just a "runaway." Believe it or not, I personally see it happen too frequently. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, "Of the nearly 25,000 runaways reported to the NCMEC in 2017, one in seven were likely a victim of child sex trafficking. Of those, 88% were in the care of social services when they went missing. (1) In this presentation, I plan on discussing the statistics, the contributing factors as well as discuss real life missing child cases, resources and tools.