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The paper is an in depth examination of the issue of child laundering in the United States of America. This is done by first defining what child laundering is, how it work in the country, bringing forth some vital statistics concerning its prevalence as well as its ill-effects. Additionally, the existing laws in land that help combat child laundering as well as relevant statistics on whether the current laws have been effective or not are brought to light. Lastly, a set of recommendation are brought forth to help make the law better in addressing the problem of child laundering.
Due to globalization, mainly characterized by free movement of people, goods, services and capital due to advent in technology, there are a number of benefits as well as drawbacks associated with it. Political, social, cultural, economic as well as environmental aspects of mankind have been impacted in either way. One social; ill that has been catalyzed by globalization is child laundering. By definition, child laundering has been thought of as;
[The practice of illegally using children for exploitative purposes like labor, prostitution, and adoption after stealing and selling a child to adopting parents under false pretenses. The children that are trafficked in or out of a country mostly come from poor and backward families who may willingly give them over for laundering in the hope of earning money or providing a better place to the child. However, most of these children end up in neglect, abuse, and torture at the hands of their recipients] (Garrison, 2000)
It is worth noting that this act also known as child trafficking is done mainly by agencies that facilitate adoption mainly against the will of the parents as well as the involved child. The offender does hide or falsify the kids' details for instance controlling the origin of the child with the aim of making such children legitimate orphans (Jerome, 2001). On the same note, offenders are capable of manipulating birth certificates, intake records, or even records concerning death of parents who may be alive. Generally speaking, the phenomenon entails unlawfully attaining children by kidnapping or buying for reasons of adoption.
As suggested by Zimmerman, 2005 child laundering has been associated with a number of social ill such as sexual abuse, removal of some vital body organs, child labor, illegal adoption, prostitution and slavery among others.
For these reasons, governments locally and in collaboration with their international counterparts have set laws that make the act a serious crime that is punishable. Persons under the age of 18 years are deemed to be children accordance to the international law and recruit, transport, harbor and or to obtain such person to be exploited is seen as child trafficking. Although the laws of the land seem to have helped curb the problem, it is evident that there are some loopholes that need to be sealed to successfully and effectively help America address the issue of child laundering.
Child laundering in United States of America
It is a difficult task to succinctly establish the exact number of children being 'laundered' which is characterized with kidnapping, stealing buying and trafficking children. in the United States of America, child laundering is mainly accomplished by the following ways or mechanism, child buying, intra-familial kidnapping, traditional kidnapping, kidnapping children place into orphanages, hostels or schools for purposes of being educated or cared for, obtaining children through false pretenses, lost children and finally taking children in payment of debts 'your money or your baby'. The children are elated unlawfully to cities within a given country and or trafficked foreign countries.
Children, both males and females are culprits, though the reason of laundering does vary for the genders involved. Child buying involved an interconnected link that may constitute independent facilitators, directors of orphanages as well as attorney who are corrupt. They form a system that enables them buy kids from their familis. An individual with skills and knowledge is at the realm of the whole scandal and recruits scouts to help him carry out his/her plans. The target here are the poorest families, money is the inducing factor (Smolin, 2006). It is estimated that person at the realm of the whole thing gets between 2,000 and 20,000 US dollars per child. Paying the family, the recruiters as well as bribing the relevant authorities obviously leaves him/her with something substantial.
Kidnapping of children placed in homecare, schools or hostels has been another way of child laundering. Parents from very poor background due to financial constrain may relinquish their responsibility of housing, caring and educating their kids to an institution that provide the same. This has been used by facilitators and scouts to convinced parents to place more kids into such systems. It is sad to not that upon entering such institutions, the children are made 'orphans' and transferred to adoptees usually without the consent of the child's parents.
Smolin, 2007 held the view that child laundering has been made possible through obtaining minors through false pretense. This entails inducing parents to give custody of their children to a number of agencies. Parents are made to understand that their children are taken to have a better life and are promised they will be constantly updated about the wellbeing of their children. Financial gain from adopting persons or agencies as well as the possibilities of going to America to live there with their children makes thing easier for the perpetrators especially when the parents are na‹ve and poor. What follows after the parents have given custody of their kids is adoption which is done through manipulation of the kids' origin as well as parents' whereabouts. Parents in the end loss the family contact with their kids forever.
There are also cases where a family is forced to surrender the custody of their child due to inability to settle debts. This happens especially with regards to failure in settling medical bills associated with giving birth. Similarly, a woman who is poor is in debt with individuals or agencies that give loans, failure to repay makes the agency to force such women to place their kids to orphanages where the illegal adoption is then done without her consent (Zimmerman, 2005).
Additionally, familial kidnapping where one parent takes away the kid from the other and place him/her in another location especially orphanages. This is usually motivated by financial gain and evading the responsibility of raising children due to lack of adequate resources. Countries where parent have to incur cost of marrying of daughter are at more risks. Traditional kidnapping of children especially from hospitals, schools homes, playing grounds, streets for sale has been on thrive as one major way of fostering child laundering.
Lastly, cases involving lost children have been capitalized to enhance child laundering. It is common knowledge that once a child is established to be lost; efforts opt to be made too establish his/her family and rejoin them. However, according to Landes & Posner 1978 in the wake of lust for money, such efforts are not made and involved children are deliberately given false name as well as manipulated background eventually adopted in an illegal manner where they may languish in sex abuse, child pornography, and child labor among others.
Child laundering usually denies the involved kids the opportunity of growing up with their blood sibling as well as sharing the bliss of life with their biological parents. Such incidences usually impact on their perception especially towards parents when they come of age and realize that where they are is not their home and their parent cannot be traced (Mabry & Kelly, 2006). In incidences that the child was taken from the mother forcefully or by being threaten, the mother will live in guilt for the rest of her life for failing to defend her child. Such traumatic events psychologically torture the victim that it may escalate to her day to day way of living. The emotion associated with losing family tiess can be very detrimental to the health of the victim as they may spent a better part of their time crying and thinking about home, siblings, friends and parents (Tyuryukanova, 2002).
In cases where the children are subjected to sexual abuse for instance prostitution and child pornography, there are potential possibilities of them contacting sexual transmitted diseases and more seriously HIV and AIDS. It is no doubt that these kids have seen to it that the spread of such diseases are on the rise posing danger not only to them but also to the general public (Marshall & Gerald, 2002). Additionally, when molested at such early ages as 12 years, they stand a chance of holding lower esteem of themselves ending up withdrawing from sexual activities even with their beloved partners once they are grown ups. The problem with intimacy can also be along with problems with their kids. Survivors more often that not push away those individual close to them which is seen to be a disturbing issue to one of the spouse. It has been established that close to 80% of children engaging in sexual abuse and child pornography if not saved earlier and put into rehabilitation will definitely engage in prostitution in future especially when they are adults (Williams, 1999).
Where the culprit is physically abused, by their recipients there are chances that they my turn to be violent when they grow to adulthood. When the same goes to the extreme, such children are a time physically and permanently deformed. Additionally, the children that are abused physically loss some body senses and cannot feel anything which is dangerous to their growth and development (Wolfe, 2005).
On the same note, despite the fact that when facilitators are trying to induce the biological parents of children to be adopted by promising better life, education, provision of basic need, in reality, these children end up languishing in more trouble as compared to before being taken. Basics needs such as health, shelter, food among others are poorly administered. It is only a small fraction that is lucky to have a better shelter over their heads. Lack of education in most cases renders such individual useless later in life as they cannot secure better jobs and for this reason, most of them have ruined life (Torgoley, 2006).
It is also a fact that these individuals are subjected to social ill such as drug use/abuse and other forms of crime.
The involved children when growing up in such an environment approach adulthood already mentally polluted and corrupted. The end result is having a society that is full of crime, irresponsible and holding negative views on themselves as well as others. Strictly speaking, when children are trafficked to urban centers which is usually the norm, it is obvious that the surging numbers are not in line with the available resources (Vu, 2004). This does contribute to overcrowding of the existing infrastructure in states that are striving to provide financial as well as other resources to meet children needs. As noted by Lindsey Biel, author of "Raising a Sensory Smart Child,"
[Internationally adopted children demonstrate higher incidences of sensory integration and health problems than domestically adopted children. The crowded adoption facilities typically lack adequate medical, educational and nutritional care for children, leading to cognitive, emotional and behavioral disorders in adopted children]. Another social ill that is associated with child laundering is irresponsible parenting. Once couple are given the room to 'sell' their children, this will be the norm hence making the society have irresponsible individual who are not capable of taking care of young individuals and providing them with basic needs. This will provide a wider avenue for the illicit business deemed lucrative to thrive at the expense of values of any given society. Similarly, there are problems faced by the children trafficked to new areas especially if they are from a foreign country. It will take them time to fully adjust to the environment as well as the culture of destination area (Wolthuis & Mirjam, 2001).
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