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Page last updated at 17:12 GMT, Monday, 28 April 2008 18:12 UK

Vietnam to end US adoption scheme

Baby girls in an orphanage near Hanoi, Vietnam, 23 April 2008
The US embassy said corruption was rife in the adoption scheme

The Vietnamese government has said it will end an adoption agreement with the US, amid accusations of corruption.

Vietnam said it would stop accepting adoption applications after 1 July, cutting short a programme that had been up for renewal on 1 September.

A recent report from the US embassy in Hanoi cited cases in which children had allegedly been sold and families pressured to give up their babies.

Vietnam has dismissed the claims, which it described as unfair.

"The US report includes a lot of distorted information, it is untrue," said Vu Duc Long, director of Vietnam's International Adoption Agency.

Brokers

The report said the embassy had received "credible" accounts that some adoption agencies gave $10,000 (5,037) for each child that was referred.

It also detailed brokers travelling to villages to look for babies.

The report was drawn up after US officials noticed a rapid increase in the number of "abandoned" babies offered for adoption.

Vietnam suspended adoption programmes with foreign countries in 2003 in an effort to tackle corruption, before resuming adoption to the US under a bilateral scheme.

Americans have adopted more than 1,200 Vietnamese children over the 18 months ending on 31 March, the Associated Press news agency reported.

The programme attracted media attention when Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie adopted a child from Vietnam last year.

Though China is still the most popular country for US families adopting from abroad, AP reported that adoptions from Vietnam - which had fewer restrictions - had been rising.

The end of the agreement between the US and Vietnam will lead to the closure of 42 US adoption agencies, according to Ms Long.


SEE ALSO
Vietnam gang 'smuggled 30 babies'
09 Apr 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Vietnam 'baby-smugglers' arrested
21 Feb 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Jolie completes Vietnam adoption
21 Mar 07 |  Entertainment
China rules on foreign adoptions
20 Dec 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Vietnam
25 Mar 08 |  Country profiles

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