13 Apr 2004

New concerns about illegal adoptions of Marshall Islands babies

10:48 am on 13 April 2004

Marshall islands officials are expressing increasing concern about illegal adoptions of Marshall islands babies to American families.

The Marshalls' chief compact negotiator, Robert Muller, says it appears there are significant problems in Hawaii with pregnant Marshallese women being flown to the island, delivering their babies and turning them over for adoption.

Four pregnant Marshallese women are reported to be living with a Marshallese family in Hawaii waiting for adoptions of their soon-to-be-born babies

The adoptions are said to have been arranged by an unlicensed Marshall Islands adoption agency.

Under a new Marshall Islands law, adoptions can only be handled by agencies licensed by the Central Adoption Agency.

At the moment only one agency has been licensed by the CAA.

Mr Muller says both Marshallese and US citizens are involved in these activities and appropriate enforcement and prosecution actions need to be taken.