Kristen Cheney speaker at international adoption side event

The side event of the 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council was organized by the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prositituion and child pornogrpahy. The event focused on tackling illegal adoptions and addressing the rights of vitims. 

There were four presentations by speakers at the event. One of which was Dr. Kristen Cheney who is a Senior Lecturer of Children and Youth Studies at the ISS. 

In her presentation Dr Cheney broadened an understanding of the enabling environment for illegal adoption through a discussion on the Orphan Industrial Complex (OIC), the global commodification of children labelled 'orphans'. She stressed that legal frameworks are fundamental, but that broader socio-cultural factors create enabling environments for these illegal practices to occur. The OIC, which encompasses the demand for experiences with orphans, including orphan tourism, orphanage establishment and volunteering, and international adoption, creates perverse incentives for child institutionalization that is often driven by the convergence of global charity and local poverty. Often unregulated, OIC activities thus undermine the development of more robust child protective systems. Therefore, Cheney stresses the need to address the enabling environments, to strengthen and invest more in effective national child protection systems, and to address the demand side of OIC.

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