Russia launches criminal inquiry into US child trafficking

Russia launches criminal inquiry into US child trafficking
Vladimir Markin, spokesman for investigative committee of the Russian general prosecutor's office, gives a statement in Berlin October 7, 2011.

MOSCOW - Russia has begun a criminal inquiry into suspected child trafficking in the United States following a Reuters investigation which found that adopted children, some born in Russia, were being traded via the Internet.

The Investigative Committee opened the case after the reports found "adopted Russian children being transferred to different families in breach of their rights", spokesman Vladimir Markin said in a statement on Thursday.

The Reuters investigation uncovered an underground market where desperate parents sought new families for children they had adopted but no longer wanted.

Markin said that 26 Russian children had been among those traded via online forums on Yahoo or Facebook. Some later became victims of sexual abuse.

Russia banned adoptions of its children by US families nearly a year ago, in a tit-for-tat diplomatic dispute over a law passed by Congress that denied visas to Russians suspected of human rights violations.

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