Cambodia’s minister of social affairs on Sunday departed for a visit to Spain, which will be followed by a trip to Malta, to discuss and sign adoption agreements with both countries, according to a statement released Sunday.
Vong Soth will be in Spain through Wednesday, when he will depart for Malta. The government in 2015 opened the process for adoption agencies that are accredited by the receiving countries and licensed by the ministry to be allowed to provide inter-country adoption services in Cambodia.
The ban on such adoptions was lifted in 2013 after being in effect for four years following allegations of human trafficking as a result of ineffective laws. Thus far, only Italy has reestablished a memorandum of understanding on inter-country adoptions.
According to Lucia Soleti, child protection specialist for UNICEF, such adoptions should only be pursued in line with the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoptions.
One of the challenges in Cambodia is that there aren’t enough social workers to ensure thorough case management, which needs to include an assessment of the child’s situation, as well as the family, to verify if the child is eligible for adoption, she said.
“With necessary human resources not yet in place even for those basic elements, it does not appear that all the requirements to resume inter-country adoptions have been met.”
Additional reporting by Yesenia Amaro