The license by the Swedish National Board for Inter-country Adoptions (NIA) to allow the Swedish Adoptions Centre (AC) to adopt children from Cambodia will for many an eerie reminder of how Swedish organisations and government agencies, not least AC and NIA, acted when similar irregularities with corruption, fraudulent documents and sold or stolen children bound for Sweden were revealed in Thailand in the years between 1975 and 1977.
Also at that time did Sweden’s Embassy in Bangkok, as well as Thai authorities, submit written but basically ignored warnings to Swedish government agencies.
Over 900 children – a huge increase compared with the years before – were adopted from Thailand to Sweden these three years, many of them with fake identity papers and made up adoption documents, before a Thai police raid against a Bangkok nursery put an end to the massive adoption activities.
At that nursery, which cooperated with AC up to a few weeks before the raid took place, 33 children were found when the police arrived. 16 of the children had no identity papers whatsoever and three children had been stolen.
Among the hastily burned papers inside the nursery were several with Swedish connections.
Thailand put new and stricter adoption laws in place 1978 and decided that all intercountry adoptions must be handled by the Public Welfare Department.
The head of NIA at the time, Ms. Anita Gradin, promised in a TV newscast 1977 concerned Swedish parents that adoptions from Thailand during the years in question would be investigated. A year later, the public was told by the Swedish government that nothing illegal had taken place.
Not until this spring was the truth revealed, thanks to persistent adopted Thais in Sweden. They could prove that their adoption papers were faked. Some of the adopted children – now in their twenties – even discovered that they have doubles living in Thailand with the identities stated in their adoptions papers.
Shortly after this revelation, the public prosecutor in the central Swedish town Norrkoping initiated an investigation to find out if any of the Swedish middlemen handling the Thai adoptions 25 years ago can be charged for trafficking and/or kidnapping and/or collusion to commit such crimes.