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US Maintains Ban on Cambodian Adoptions

  • Chun Sakada
  • VOA Khmer

A young orphaned Cambodian infant girl infected with the HIV virus sits on a mat in the Phnom Penh Nutrition Center.

A young orphaned Cambodian infant girl infected with the HIV virus sits on a mat in the Phnom Penh Nutrition Center.

A US envoy for children’s issues declined to lift a ban on US adoptions from Cambodia Friday, despite the 2009 passage of an adoption law, officials said.

The US banned adoptions from Cambodia in 2001, after allegations that mothers were being paid to give up their children to adoption agencies.

Susan Jacobs, the US Ambassador for Children’s Issues, told Cambodian officials the country had made improvements in children’s protection.

But after her two-day fact-finding mission, the US Embassy said in a statement, “The United States has not set a date for resumption of inter-country adoption with Cambodia.”

Cambodian officials say they expect to begin initiating a 2009 law in April this year to bring the country in line with international standards.

The law includes age requirement for prospective parents, between 30 to 45, and an age limit on a child of 18 years. It also includes requirements the adoptive parent is not a criminal and can care for the adopted.

“We aim to prevent human trafficking and child smuggling,” said Koy Kuong, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The law would ensure a child lives with its adopted family, he said, “with proper living, dignity and happiness.”

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