Organisation of Crime in the Transnational Adoption Market

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


Within the second half of the twentieth century, a transnational adoption market has emerged. Numerous reports document the illegal practices whereby which children are obtained and then trafficked to meet the high Western demand for adoptable children. This market is organised into a structure of relations between kidnappers, orphanages, youth welfare offices, lawyers, doctors, adoption agencies and sometimes even adopters. Child trafficking for adoption (CTFA) can therefore be considered as a form of organised crime. This chapter explores and discusses four features of this kind of trafficking in human beings and draws comparisons with other transnational organised criminal trades: the commodification of what is culturally considered to be separate from the economic sphere, the criminogenic asymmetries which the transnational adoption market is based on, the need for a laundering process and wilful ignorance of the stakeholders on the demand side of the market.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOrganized Crime in the 21st Century
Subtitle of host publicationMotivations, Opportunities, and Constraints
EditorsHans Nelen, Dina Siegel
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-21576-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-21575-9
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • child trafficking for adoption
  • criminogenic asymmetries
  • child laundering
  • organised crime
  • transnational illegal markets


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