Documentary Analyzes US Orphan Ban

Almost four years after the US’ decision to ban adoptions of Cam­bodian children by US families, the makers of a coming documentary on the subject hope to show the public how the ban has affected Cambodian orphans.

Parts of the documentary, dir­ec­ted by Scott Catamas, will be shown at the FCC on Sunday afternoon, where the issue will be de­bated, said Daniel Susott, the event’s organizer.

Susott, a longtime friend of convicted US baby broker Lauryn Galindo, said the ban has meant that hundreds of children who could have been adopted were not.

“We are trying to look at this in the picture of child welfare in Cam­bodia, human trafficking and what are the implications now that adoptions to the United States have been stopped,” he said.

Though focusing on the US suspension of adoptions, announced in December 2001, Susott said the documentary will also deal with Ga­lindo’s case.

In June 2004, Galindo pleaded guilty in a US court to charges of visa fraud, money laundering and currency structuring related to her Seattle International Adoptions which arranged at least 700 adoptions in Cambodia between 1997 and 2001.

Susott described Galindo as “a humanitarian who was in it for the right reasons—to help the children and get them out of the or­phan­ages while they were still alive.”

He added that the US government needed to show it was tough on child trafficking and “made her a martyr because she was an easy target.”

“The bottom line is that she probably gave more than anybody to fight against child trafficking,” he said.

Kek Galabru, president of rights group Licadho, said a lack of laws and institutions monitoring adoptions justified the US ban, adding that Galindo pleaded guilty be­cause she knew she had done wrong.

US Embassy spokesman John Daigle said the ban on adoptions probably will not be lifted in the near future.

“The concern in the past was that children were being adopted without really being or­phans,” he said.

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