Child Trafficking in Malaysia – A Catch 22 Situation

Photo credit: The Star Online

The Star newspaper Malaysia reported that the country’s police have busted a child trafficking ring (See article here). A shocking revelation in this news item is that a doctor was among those involved in this ‘lucrative business’. This goes to show that no man no matter how highly educated is immune to the evil of money.

On another point, regardless of who was involved, child trafficking is partly created from the ‘supply and demand system’ existing in Malaysia. With many children born out of wedlock or to families who are financially unable to support a child, they are bound to be abandoned or in this case sold for profit.

Then there is the Malaysian adoption proccess which is very time-consuming and discouraging. Going through the government agencies, you would be put on waiting list to be paired with a child (which you don’t get to meet) from a welfare home. Then there is the assessment of suitability of adopting family members by the relevant authorities. There are also legal procedures and court appearance to be completed. So it’s not surprising that it could take up to 2 years to complete the adoption process. And then there is also the frustration of rejection by the authorities after going through the whole process.

All these procedures are understandably put in place for the protection of the child but then they are also a double-edged sword which deters able and willing parents who desperately want a child. These couples turn to illegal means like the ones offered by the child trafficking ring.

Given the circumstances that some of these children are in, there’s no saying what their fate would be if they were not sold to families who genuinely want them and are able to give them a better life compared to their birth family, but then again, there is no guarantee either that the adopting family will treat the child well. If these children were to be placed under the legal means of adoption, they would likely remain in orphanages and welfare homes for the rest of their childhood due to the long and tedious adoption process in Malaysia. So, in the end, the children are the victims here.

In saying so, the Malaysian government should also look into encouraging adoption by re-examining the legal process in tandem with the efforts of reigning in human trafficking. After all, children are our future and we should do everything to give them all (no matter where they come from) a better life.

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