Thousands of Sri Lankan babies sold for adoption in Europe
Up to 11,000 babies were sold from Sri Lanka into adoption in Europe in the 1980s, a TV documentary has revealed.
Both parties were given fake documents in the fraudulent adoptions, Sri Lankan Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne admitted.
Some of the children came from so-called baby farms in the Asian country.
"There were a lot of baby farms back then," Senaratne said.
"They collected the babies there and sold them to foreigners for adoption."
The babies were adopted into families in countries including the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the UK, according to Zembla, an Dutch current affairs programme that aired last night.
Some babies were also abducted from hospitals, with the mother in some cases being told their child had died, the documentary claims.
"In some institutions there were 'acting mothers' who were paid to pretend to be the biological parents while handing them over," Norbert Reinjens, a researcher for Zembla, told the BBC.
Hospital staff played a role in the fraudulent adoptions on behalf of European adoption agencies, according to the documentary.
Rajitha Senaratne said the Sri Lankan government must take the documentary's revelations seriously.
"It happened in an illegal manner, it’s very wrong," he said.
"It violates the human rights of these families. This needs to be looked into."