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Adoption from Cambodia is closed to UK families

Restrictions on adoption from Cambodia have been in place since 2004. These restrictions are still in force and thus one cannot adopt from Cambodia.

From DoE UK's Adoption Authority


Special Restrictions on Adoptions from Abroad (Cambodia) Order 2008 - 1 August 2008


The Order places on a statutory footing the suspension of adoptions from Cambodia that is currently in place. On 22 June 2004, the Minister for Children (Margaret Hodge) announced a temporary suspension of adoptions of Cambodian children by UK residents.

The suspension was introduced in response to evidence that the safeguards in the Cambodian adoption system were insufficient to prevent children being adopted without proper consents being given by their birth parents and improper financial gain being made by individuals involved in the adoption process. The specific areas of concern included:

  • evidence relating to the systematic falsification of Cambodian official documents related to the adoption of children;
  • evidence relating to the extensive involvement of adoption facilitators in the adoption procedure in Cambodia even though Cambodian law expressly forbids facilitators participating in the adoption process;
  • evidence relating to the procurement of children for intercountry adoption by facilitators, including by coercion and by paying birth mothers to give up their children; and
  • concern about the prevalence of children trafficking and corruption generally in Cambodia.


On 27 September 2007 the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (Kevin Brennan) announced a review of the suspension introduced in 2004, the purpose of which was to update the information on which the suspension was based, to find out what concerns, if any, remain valid and whether there are any other concerns about practices taking place.


On 2 April 2008 following that review, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State announced that the suspension remained in place. Evidence from the review demonstrated that:


  • adoption legislation, practice and procedure in Cambodia remain insufficient to ensure the proper protection of children and their families;
  • lifting the suspension would expose Cambodian children and their families to an increased risk of improper practices that are contrary to the principles of the Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Hague Convention) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.


The Cambodian government has requested assistance in this area from the Secretariat of the Hague Convention. However, there is no evidence to demonstrate that there have been substantive changes to practice on the ground since the announcement of the outcome of the review.

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, in the name of the Secretary of State, is of the view that, because of practices taking place in Cambodia, it would be contrary to public policy to further the bringing of children into the United Kingdom from Cambodia as specified in section 9 (2) of the Children and Adoption Act 2006.

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