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Sunday, March 28, 1999 Published at 15:37 GMT

World: South Asia

India adoption racket busted

Poor families were allegedly paid up to $70 for selling their children

Indian police rescued 56 infants in a raid on a creche, which was allegedly buying babies from poor families and sold them to foreigners.

The children, 52 of them girls and all aged between one month and one year, were bought from poor families or tribespeople by brokers posing as social workers, police said.

The brokers, from the Good Samaritan Evangelical and Social Welfare Association, are said to have paid the families between 2,000 and 3,000 rupees a child ($47 to $70).

The association, in Hyderabad, in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, charged foreigners $2,000 to $3,000 to adopt them, according to the state Interior Minister A. Madhava Reddy

He said 17 children had already been sent abroad, 16 to the United States and one to Denmark.

It is alleged that the organisation used forged documents of parental consent to issue guardianship certificates to the adoptive parents.

The Good Samaritan Evangelical and Social Welfare Association is believed to have helped six similar organisations in the state to arrange highly profitable adoptions.

Mr Reddy said that the authorities were trying to identify the real parents of the children in the creche.

Police are still looking for S. Peter Subbiah, who ran the association.

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