14 Oct 2004

American Samoa taskforce to deal with illegal adoptions

2:20 pm on 14 October 2004

A taskforce being set up in American Samoa to review child trafficking problems will incorporate a regional approach.

The Chief Justice, Michael Kruse, is spearheading the taskforce to deal with illegal off island adoptions.

It will develop suggestions for existing statutes and court rules.

Judge Elvis Patea, who wants to join that taskforce, says as far as he's aware, most of the illegal adoptions involve other American states.

He suspects child trafficking is probably a widespread problem in the Pacific.

"The memo from the chief justice went out so hopefully it's one of the things the taskforce will look at, to see if other Pacific Islands have experienced this sort of trafficking, to see how they are dealing with it."

Judge Elvis Patea says the taskforce will probably be set up within a couple of weeks.