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Southeast Asia, explained

Lao babies sold to foreigners?

Infants allegedly bought by foreigners for up to $5,000

The government of Laos is investigating claims that an official scooped up abandoned babies from villages, rigged their adoption papers and sold them to foreigners for up to $5,000 per infant.

His customers, according to Radio Free Asia and AFP reports, were Americans, Canadians and Australians.

Even if some official -- who isn't named -- thought he'd found a way to simultaneously help orphans and get really rich, such operations are highly illegal. Both Laos and the U.S. have a term for it: human trafficking.

However, if the allegations are legit, it shouldn't be too hard to track down the orphans. Through legal channels at least, few Americans poor, landlocked communist country.

According to the U.S. State Department, Americans adopted only 6 Lao children in 2011 and just 7 in 2010.

The figure for 2012 might be zero. Laos has suspended all foreign adoptions during its investigation.

http://www.globalpost.com/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/laos_adoption

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