Uganda overseas baby adoptions boom
Kampala - Authorities in Uganda have raised fears that the east African nation's children are being left vulnerable to abuse and exploitation by a staggering increase in overseas adoptions.
An official report, details of which were published on Tuesday by the New Vision newspaper, said an unchecked boom in what it called the "international adoption industry" had led to some children who were not even orphans being taken into care for adoption or child sponsorship schemes.
The report also said there was no system for the government to track adoptions, leaving children at risk of being kidnapped or trafficked.
"There is no assurance that their fundamental rights have been respected and thus abduction, sale or trafficking of children cannot be ruled out," the paper quoted Uganda's Auditor General John Muwanga as saying.
Uganda is home to approximately 2.4 million orphans, about half of whom lost their parents to HIV/Aids.
A source in Uganda's Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, confirmed that there had been an estimated 400% increase in adoptions from 2006 to 2013.
The report said the boom in adoptions had led to a "rapidly increasing number of baby and children homes", with more than 500 such institutions now operating in the country.
"These homes have been reported to be removing children from families and communities and placing them into institutional settings and gradually exploiting these children for economic reasons through child sponsorship schemes," it said.