Child-selling

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This article is about selling mainly for nonexploitative adoption. For selling for exploitation, see trafficking of children. For sale as part of ongoing slavery, see child slavery.
For the illegal acquisition of children by purchase or otherwise, see child laundering.
Not to be confused with child labor, marketing directed at children, or children selling products as a small activity (such as at a lemonade stand).

Child-selling is the practice of selling children, usually by parents, close persons, or subsequent masters or custodians. After a sale, when the subsequent relationship with the child is essentially nonexploitative, the usual purpose of child-selling is to permit adoption.

United States[edit]

Georgia Tann, of Memphis, Tenn.,[1] was employed by the Tennessee Children's Home Society.[2] According to reporter Barbara Bisantz Raymond, Tann, in 1924–1950,[3] stole many children[4] and sold 5,000 children,[5] most or all of them white.[6] The children were adopted by families[7] in exchange for substantial fees[8] (ostensibly for transport[7] and hotel[9] but Tann charged multiple times for a single trip[9] and collected the money personally rather than through the Tennessee Children's Home Society)[7] and processed the adoptions without investigating adoptive parents[10] except for their wealth.[11] Amounts charged for adoptions ranged from $700[12] to $10,000[13] when "reputable agencies ... [charged] almost nothing".[13] Tann, in a 1944 speech accusing others of unlicensed adoption placements, did not admit selling children herself.[14]

According to Raymond, Tann made adoption socially acceptable.[15] Previously, when the first U.S. state adoption law was passed in 1851, adoption was "not immediately popular".[16] Early in the 20th century, adoption was "rare".[17] Low-income birth parents from whom children were taken were generally considered genetically inferior, and the children, considered adoptable, were considered therefore genetically tainted.[18] Before Tann's work, indenture was applied to some children with the duties to educate the children and to provide them with land scarcely enforced,[19] and the Orphan Train Project gathered children and transported them for resettlement under farmers needing labor, using a procedure akin to a slave auction.[20] Some children's custody was changed "through secretive means"[21] between sets of parents, some willing and some unaware.[22] Baby farms, where many children were murdered,[23] sold children for up to $100 each.[24] Tann, apparently disagreeing with the prevailing view,[25] argued (against her own belief)[25] that children were "blank slates",[26] thus free of the sin and genetic defects attributable to their parents,[25] thus making adoption appealing,[15] thus providing a way for children who might otherwise have been dead[27] to survive and receive care, her waiting lists including much of the U.S., Canada, and South America.[27] One person adopted through the Tennessee Children's Home Society was wrestler Ric Flair.[28]

Brokers who sold babies were found in Augusta, Ga., and Wichita, Kans.[29] A sale by a midwife occurred in New Orleans, La.,[30] a child was sold twice on one train ride,[30] and one "father ... traded his unborn daughter for a poker debt."[29]

In 1955–1956, passage of U.S. Federal legislation to ban baby-selling failed.[31]

Cambodian children to the U.S.[edit]

In 1997–2001, Lauryn Galindo "made $8 million by arranging eight hundred adoptions of Cambodian children by unwitting Americans", one being Angelina Jolie.[32] For Galindo, baby buyers, often taxi drivers and orphanage managers, offered low-income mothers (chosen by baby recruiters) money or rice for children, whom Galindo claimed were orphans and for whom adopting families paid around $11,000 in fees.[33] Galindo, saying she intended "to save children from desperate circumstances" and that she felt she acted "with the highest integrity", was convicted in the U.S. and sentenced to a year and a half in prison.[33]

Britain[edit]

Lawrence Stone reported some attempted sales of children accompanying wives sold by husbands to new husbands, one in 1815 and another discussed in 1763.[34] (Wife sale in England was illegal but believed to be lawful and widely practiced in southern England and the Midlands.)[35]

Historian E. P. Thompson reported a sale of two children with a sale of a wife to an American in 1865 for £25 per child (the wife being sold for another £100).[36] In atypical cases, a wife and four children were sold for a shilling each, apparently to preclude an expulsion to be forced by poor law officials,[37] and a wife and child, born after she started living with her lover but before the sale, were sold.[38] In another case, a wife and baby about a year old were sold at an auction,[39] where the selling husband said, "[c]ome on wi' yer bids, and if yer gies me a good price fer the ooman, I'll gie yer the young kid inter the bargain.... I'll tell thee wot, Jack ... if thee't mak it up three gallons o' drink, her's thine, I'll ax thee naught fer the babby, an' the halter's worth a quart. Come, say shillins!"[40] In various cases, when wife sales split families, it appears that the youngest children go with mothers and older children go with fathers.[41]

Procedures for selling children were often like those for selling wives when they relied on the contractual method, even if the contract was not legally enforceable.[42]

Ireland[edit]

In 964, there was "'a great and insufferable famine' in which men sold their sons and daughters into slavery in return for food.... The practice of selling children is referred to in 1116 and ... they were usually sold into areas remote from their homes."[43]

China[edit]

According to Frank Dikötter, in 1953 or 1954, when there was starvation, "across the country people sold their children"[44] and a 1950 report by the Chinese Communist Party on Shanghai "deplored ... the sale of children due to joblessness"[45] and, Dikötter continued, sale of children by "many" of the unemployed also occurred in south China,[46] near Changchun "some families sold their children",[47] in 1953 during a famine in some provinces "desperate parents even bartered their children",[48] and one price in 1950–'53 in Nanhe County was "a handful of grain",[49] another price in 1953 or 1954 having been 50 yuan, enough for the father (the seller) to buy rice to last through a famine.[50]

According to a 2006 report, low-income families and unwed mothers sell babies, often girls, in the underground market in China, and the sales are to parents who want servants, more children, or future brides for sons.[51] "Relatively few Chinese brokers are caught and prosecuted."[52]

According to a 2007-09-23 English newspaper report,[53] in China, 190 children were snatched every day, but the Chinese government did not acknowledge the extent of the problem or the cause of the problem.

According to a 2013-01-22 English-language Chinese newspaper report,[54] Chen Shiqu, director of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security's human trafficking task force, said that since a DNA database started in April 2009 it has matched 2,348 children with their biological parents. Zhang Baoyan, founder of the 'Baby Back Home' non-government organisation, said the database is the most effective way to reunite families. Baby Back Home receives an average of 50 inquiries a day from abducted children and their parents; Baby Back Home gives blood samples to the ministry for DNA testing. However Zhang Baoyan, founder of Baby Back Home, said that "there are still some parents of missing children who have no idea about the DNA database".

A 2013-01-26 English news magazine report[55] describes Xiao Chaohua, a campagaining parent of an abducted child, as believing that the authorities could be doing a lot more. Mr Xiao says that buyers of abducted children still often get away without punishment — they usually live in villages and sometimes enjoy protection from local officials. He says orphanages sometimes fail to take DNA from children they receive.

Malaysia[edit]

In 2005 in Malaysia, baby-selling rings were believed by some to be "thriving," although this activity was still considered criminal.[56]

Other cultures and worldwide[edit]

In Greece, "babies of ... young women are sometimes sold to adoptive parents before their mothers even leave the hospital."[57] In 2007, brokering was being investigated by Interpol in Greece.[58]

Worldwide, in modern years, according to reporter Barbara Bisantz Raymond, brokers steal and sell children.[59] In France, Italy, and Portugal, in 2007, brokering was being investigated by Interpol.[58]

International law[edit]

One proposal is the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, a treaty which would ban child-buying.[60]

Popular culture[edit]

  • Stolen Babies, a cable TV movie starring Mary Tyler Moore[61]
  • Mommie Dearest; "Joan Crawford['s] ... Mommie Dearest daughter supposedly came from the Tennessee Children's Home Society"[61][a]
  • Donna Troy, in comic book fiction
  • In Pete's Dragon, a Disney movie released in 1977, Pete, the title character, was found to have been sold to the Gogans; an uneducated family; who used him as cheap labor until he ran away.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Joan Crawford, a subject of Mommie Dearest

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption (N.Y.: Union Square Press, 1st ed. 2007 (ISBN 978-1-4027-5863-8)), p. 1 ("Memphis .... where Georgia [Tann] lived") (author a reporter) (while main text does not have note references, book has, at pp. 253–287, 657 unnumbered notes for the main text).
  2. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 6 (according to Governor Gordon Browning, Tann was "employed by the Tennessee Children's Home Society") and see p. 1 ("[h]er orphanage or Home, the local branch of the Tennessee Children's Home Society").
  3. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. viii and see p. 7.
  4. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., pp. 121–122 and see p. 210.
  5. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 79 and see pp. viii (see n. for p. x on point), 2, 13, 45, 115, 116, 160, 163, 209, 210, 212, 214, & 215.
  6. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 84 and see pp. 75 & 78.
  7. ^ a b c Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., pp. 117–118.
  8. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., pp. ix & 118.
  9. ^ a b Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., pp. 118–119.
  10. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., pp. 80, 118, & 210.
  11. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. ix and see pp. 78 & 118.
  12. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 231.
  13. ^ a b Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 118.
  14. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 92.
  15. ^ a b Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. ix.
  16. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 71 and see pp. 65–70, 75, & 77–78.
  17. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 71.
  18. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., pp. ix (fear due to eugenics) & 71–72.
  19. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 68.
  20. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., pp. 72–74 (for an earlier auction, see p. 67).
  21. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 76.
  22. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., pp. 75–77.
  23. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., pp. 69–70 and see p. 77.
  24. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 79 and see p. 77.
  25. ^ a b c Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 78.
  26. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 78 (quoting the author and not Tann, but the author said Tann "said [it] repeatedly") and see pp. 82–84.
  27. ^ a b Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 79.
  28. ^ Flair, Ric, with Keith Elliot Greenberg, Mark Madden, ed., Ric Flair: To Be the Man (N.Y.: Pocket Books (div. of Simon & Schuster), World Wrestling Entertainment, 1st Pocket Books hardcover ed. July, 2004 (ISBN 0-7434-5691-2)), pp. 3–6 (in chap. 1 (Black Market Baby)), 278, & 332 (the last in Acknowledgments) (autobiography) (author Flair wrestler) (per Wikipedia generally a primary source).
  29. ^ a b Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 213.
  30. ^ a b Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 214.
  31. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 212 and see p. 252.
  32. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 245.
  33. ^ a b Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 246.
  34. ^ Stone, Lawrence, Road to Divorce: England 1530–1987 (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1990, reprint 2002 (ISBN 0-19-822651-9)), p. 146 & p. 146 n. 12.
  35. ^ Stone, Lawrence, Road to Divorce (reprint 2002), op. cit., pp. 143–146.
  36. ^ Thompson, Edward Palmer, Customs in Common (N.Y.: New Press, 1st American ed. 1993 (ISBN 1-56584-074-7)), p. 415 & n. 2 (author historian & social critic).
  37. ^ Thompson, Edward Palmer, Customs in Common (1993), op. cit., p. 440.
  38. ^ Thompson, Edward Palmer, Customs in Common (1993), op. cit., p. 441.
  39. ^ Thompson, Edward Palmer, Customs in Common (1993), op. cit., pp. 463–465 (appx.).
  40. ^ Thompson, Edward Palmer, Customs in Common (1993), op. cit., p. 466 (appx.).
  41. ^ Thompson, Edward Palmer, Customs in Common (1993), op. cit., p. 446 n. 1.
  42. ^ Menefee, Samuel Pyeatt, Wives for Sale: An Ethnographic Study of British Popular Divorce (N.Y.: St. Martin's Press, 1981 (ISBN 0-312-88629-2)), p. 165.
  43. ^ Rodgers, Nini, Ireland, Slavery and Anti-Slavery: 1612–1865 (Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, hardback 2007 (ISBN 0-333-77099-4)), p. 16 (nn. 45–46 omitted) and see p. 19.
  44. ^ Dikötter, Frank, The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution, 1945–57 (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 1st U.S. ed. 2013 (ISBN 978-1-62040-347-1)), p. 223 & n. 39 and see pp. 119–120 & nn. 42–43 (accusation of sale of children) & p. 252 & n. 21 (giving away of children due to poverty) (author Dikötter chair prof. humanities, University of Hong Kong & was prof. modern history of China, School of Oriental & African Studies, Univ. of London).
  45. ^ Dikötter, Frank, The Tragedy of Liberation, op. cit., p. 60 & n. 50.
  46. ^ Dikötter, Frank, The Tragedy of Liberation, op. cit., p. 60.
  47. ^ Dikötter, Frank, The Tragedy of Liberation, op. cit., p. 143 & n. 40.
  48. ^ Dikötter, Frank, The Tragedy of Liberation, op. cit., p. 212 & n. 14.
  49. ^ Dikötter, Frank, The Tragedy of Liberation, op. cit., p. 213 & n. 15.
  50. ^ Dikötter, Frank, The Tragedy of Liberation, op. cit., p. 223 & n. 39.
  51. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., pp. 246–247 (citing China Daily).
  52. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 247.
  53. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2007/sep/23/features.magazine77
  54. ^ http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2013-01/22/content_16151054.htm. Retrieved 2013-03-31
  55. ^ http://www.economist.com/news/china/21570762-curb-widespread-trafficking-abducted-children-officials-and-parents-are-turning-social
  56. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 249 (citing ABC Radio Australia).
  57. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 250.
  58. ^ a b Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 249.
  59. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 116.
  60. ^ Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The Baby Thief, op. cit., p. 251.
  61. ^ a b Flair, Ric, et al., Ric Flair: To Be the Man, op. cit., p. 3.