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Child trafficking racket: Five couples get custody of children in Mumbai

Six children had been staying at an adoption centre in Mumbai for over a year after they were rescued by the police last July. The rescued children were all boys and aged between 18 months and seven years.

Written by Sadaf Modak | December 9, 2020 1:37:22 am
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Two months after a city civil court allowed five couples to adopt children allegedly purchased by them as part of an interstate child trafficking racket, the custody of the children was handed over to them late Monday.

Six children had been staying at an adoption centre in Mumbai for over a year after they were rescued by the police last July. The rescued children were all boys and aged between 18 months and seven years.

A Delhi-based couple, who took custody of the now four-year-old boy – separated from them last year – said they are delighted. “We are on our way to Delhi. He is too young to understand what has happened since last year. It may take some time for him to adapt but we are glad that his ordeal has finally ended,” the father said.

Since the past year, while the couples were allowed to meet the children for a limited period at the adoption centre, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, they were only allowed to speak with them through video calls.

The couples had sought custody of the children stating that they were taking good care of them, some of them were going to school. They had added that the children were facing the trauma of separation and disruption of their routine life for no fault of theirs.

The Child Welfare Committee, however, had denied granting the couples temporary or permanent custody citing that a criminal offence has been committed.

The Bombay High Court had earlier this year directed the city civil court to complete the proceedings on the adoption within eight weeks. While six children were rescued by the police, the decision on the custody of one of them is still to be taken since the biological mother has also sought his custody.

The police had claimed that they had busted a racket involving the sale of children by their biological parents through a network involving surrogate mothers, hospital staff and IVF centre employees.

Some of the adoptive parents, who were accused to have purchased the children, also faced arrest. The parents, however, claimed that they were themselves victims of the racket, as they were made to believe that they were legally adopting the children.

The city civil court had in October allowed the couples to take the custody of the children while stating that there was no ulterior motive shown on their part.

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