GUATEMALA, Aug. 4 ( – Baby trafficking is a thriving underground business in Guatemala,  according to a National Post report last week, and Canada apparently played an instrumental role in exposing the industry. Many of the “adopted” infants reprotedly end up in Canada and the United States.

The multi-million dollar industry preys on “single, poor, illiterate and pregnant” women,  reported NP, and uses the services of corrupt lawyers and adoption agencies as well as midwives. Midwives have the authority to write legal notes of birth and are paid $75 “to put the name of a false birth mother” on a legal note which is then exchanged for a full birth certificate.

Mothers are apparently paid anywhere from $400 to $500 for their babies. Guatemala has no adoption law so it is difficult to prosecute suspicious cases. “There is nothing to stop genuine mothers who have been paid for their children from telling immigration officials they are giving them up voluntarily. There have also been reports that some women have “rented out”  their wombs to provide children for adoption,” noted NP.  “The Canadian embassy in Guatemala was the first to expose the illegal trade in babies in 1997,  when it started demanding DNA tests of the mothers and children involved in adoptions.”

An adoption law is reportedly waiting to be introduced in the country. It would require DNA tests to prove the relationship between a mother and child and it would make trafficking in children a criminal offence.