'Children are not safe in orphanages'

Dr Kristen Cheney

In this article in Erasmus Alumni magazine, Associate Professor Kristen Cheney discusses the global campaign to discourage people from volunteering in orphanages in Africa.

Cheney argues that orphanage tourism fuels child abuse and illegal adoption and hides the real problem of poverty and scarce protection of children.

Her research in Uganda suggests before 2007 orphaned children were often looked after by other family members. In 2007, when a legal loophole facilitated the rise of the international adoption industry, the number of orphanages shot up. Often promoted locally as free schools, these 'orphanages' become populated with children who have living relatives, often living close by. Children from poor families are lured to these free schools with parents signing over custody, giving the practice of illegal adoption free rein.

Read the full article on page 9 of the Erasmus Alumni magazine