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De Lima wants adoption process simplified to address ‘baby trafficking’

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The “highly bureaucratic” adoption system in the Philippines is one of the factors why the illicit baby-for-sale trade in the country proliferates.

Detained Senator Leila de Lima stressed this on Wednesday as she pressed for a Senate inquiry on some reports that “a considerable number of new-born babies are being sold both online and offline.”

“Assessments from experts point out that one of the problem areas that exacerbate the baby-for-sale trade is the adoption system in the Philippines,” she said in a statement.

“The current system is described to be tedious, multilayered, and even takes years to process,” said De Lima, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development.

She noted that last Sept. 4, an American citizen named Jennifer Talbot was arrested at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after she attempted to smuggle a six-day-old baby out of the country.

Human trafficking charges were filed against Talbot for the illegal “purchase” of the baby from a poor Filipina teen mom.

De Lima has called for a comprehensive review of the implementation of adoption and anti-trafficking laws for possible amendments.

While the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is aware of the problems on babies-for-sale trade, the agency admitted that it “is hardly making a dent” on the matter, she said.

“The State must ensure that in mobilizing government agencies in the creation of a peaceful environment that is free from crime and drugs, equal effort is exerted in protecting children and generations yet to come from predators that are operating in circumvention of and in violation of existing domestic and international laws,” she said.

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