Kinderhandel in Europa: Roelie Post en Rico Brouwer

Hoe Roemenië na haar intrede vat kreeg op het adoptiebeleid in Europa en dit corrumpeerde.

De adoptieprocedure in Roemenië is corrupt, meldde Roelie Post eind jaren negentig aan haar werkgever, de Europese Commissie. Zij was voor de EC bezig de kinderrechten in Roemenie in kaart te brengen. Dit in verband met de toekomstige toetreding van dat land tot de Europese Unie. Post kreeg te maken met tegenwerking en bedreigingen die zo ernstig zijn dat ze inmiddels sinds 4 jaar ondergedoken leeft in een dorpje in het noorden van Nederland en dat ze een slepend conflict heeft met haar werkgever, de EC. Die erkent haar niet als klokkenluider en heeft bekend gemaakt haar te ontslaan. Post moet haar salaris van de afgelopen jaren terugbetalen met rente en heeft geen recht op een werkloosheidsuitkering.

Roelie Post legt uit hoe de lobby industrie inzette op omgekeerd beleid en vat kreeg op het adoptiebeleid van de Europese Unie. In 2016 trok ze hierover -en over haar eigen veiligheid- aan de bel. In dit gesprek vertelt ze wat daarna gebeurde en kijkt ze vooruit naar de komende verkiezingen.

‘Mijn werk voor de Europese Commissie op dit dossier was positief afgesloten. In zes jaar tijd en met zo’n 50 miljoen Euro hebben we Roemenië begeleidt met het sluiten van die tehuizen: landen die lid zijn van de EU, die exporteren hun kinderen niet. Dat is een nationale bevoegdheid en dat is gelukt’.

Roelie Post: ‘Romania for export only – the untold story of the Romanian ‘orphans’

Against Child Trafficking

uitzending van VPRO Argos (mei 2018)

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welcome to café Weltschmerz I am rico
Brouwera few weeks to go until the
elections to the European Parliamenthence this decor in Weltschmerz and
this year successors forJuncker and Tusk will be appointed
we'll talk aboutthe European union, how she's doing and how it progresses from here andI'll do that together with
Whistleblower Roelie Post, allthoughthat's what I call you, in the European Parliament they don't yet all see it that wayin preparation
You wrote me a message and you saidI have followed all procedures, blew the whistle with the president of the EuropeanParliament, sent a copy to Rutte, was ignored completelywelcome. Thanks. Yes we will follow your story .. so we'll first go back in time a bitto tell what happened priorwe'll look at the European Union today, and together look at where she might go from heregood of you to come.the first time in Weltschmerz, right? Yes, thanks.but not for the first time in the media,
in 2018 a documentary was made about yourstory, made on VPRO Argos
yes you said, I'm also on Netflixcould you tell me, about what did you blow the Whistle when you did it?I did that because theEuropean approach within the European
commissionwith regard tochildren's rights in the last 10 years
was done in such a way that it has becomea pro adoption policy in which adoption of children is considering a childprotection measure, what it would ordinarily not beadoption should be for kids who don't have any parents and not for childrenthat do have parents
i also .. it was a bit of adelayed process, of 10 years one could say, because in 2016 I blew the whistleabout those last 10 years
and also about the way I wastreated because after being outplaced for 8 years at a children's rights NGO I started,myself – I got back within the European Commissionand got parked somewhere and didnt get thetreatment a whistleblower should get
I could therefore no longer function andI would likely lose my job of some 35 years over itso about those two things that
really are inseparableI sounded the alarm. Right, we'll come to that soon. Firstgo back in time to
how that started what you havedone — maybe not your life's work but you've worked there for a long timeI took that with me, so backin time to go back toyes maybe first 1983 when you started to
work there, yes and that isa very long time ago, I was 13. Then in 1999 you got a new assignmentso what was that assignment?it was at that time that
accession negotiationswith Eastern European countries started and that was anexciting time because everyone was like that excited about how Eastern Europe would jointhe old Europe and so me
I was offered a job inthe Romania team, and I -among other things- would be concerned withwith children's rights and in
particular with the children in thechildren's homes. So overseeing about how they did their workto help but above all
with EU money toassist Romania with a reform
from their children's homes policy because Mediahas been reporting about the poor state of those homesand those children were poorly taken care of. There was pressure on usfrom different groups on the
commission so the commission would makesignificant amounts of money available to ensure that before the accession of romaniathe larger children's homes
would be closed and the modernfoster care like we have that in the European countries, foster caresmaller homes replacing the family
homes, and especially preventivemeasures that children only leave home
if there's a real need for thatyes and simply put in my words;
Romania and some other countrieswanted to become member of the European Union, there's a number of basic rules thereand one of those is how does a country deal with childcare, orphans andadoption
yes but we did this only, it wasonly applied to Romania because: indeed one of the conditions wasrespect human rights and children arealso people too, but there was a lot of pressure on the commission to do something inRomenia, not in the other countries Bulgaria and Polandthough if I look back I think the
situation there could haveimproved also. But the pressure came from outside on the commission to get going in Romaniayou know why?
why need yes, I knowit had to do with adoption. Certain groups and individuals wantedintercountry adoption so children
to abroad and yes that becamea flowering business
when i started in '99 they'd juststarted trying to get the new legislation going so that adoptions from then onwould go well because until then
there were many scandals about child trafficking andlots of money all kinds of dark practices and now it would improvebut unfortunately we saw from 99 to 2001 we saw suddenly a jump in the whole market withexactly the same problems as before
yes market in adoption between countries thats whatyou are talking about
yes adoption of childrenbetween different countries yes exactly yes well and I have it herewe might refer to it a few times,you wrote this or published at least in 2007yes Romania for export only – the untold
story of romanian 'orphins'orphins in quotation marks.
they were no orphins.70 percent of the children had parents and
had been temporarily placed out of homeusually just because of temporary problems, just like that would happen in the Netherlands orfrance or italy
yes and well what i wanted to say is we gocan't in this or we don't want, at least I do not want to redo this book in this conversationpeople can buy it, read it,You can listen to that radio show by Argos I'll likt that too. All thatinformation will be here.
yes then people can inform themselvesI especially want to know what's happened next, after you publishedand how should we proceed with the european union but in the context of thisconversation, let's try to summarizewhat is in here. What did you find in 1999and what have you done inthose years when you worked on that fileI was what they call a task manager so I was inside of thecommittee in brussels
responsible for this file, butnaturally work together with our delegation
in in Bucharestin Romania and all people involved. We founda lot of children in homes
many parties actively involvedfar too many foreign parties
organization of private organizationsa lot of money went into it, but it turned out
nothing to change the situation ofthe kids didn't really improve
a number of houses were really badand we got the impression they left that intentionally toserve as a way to attract more
money and keep the drama intactand therefore we saw that
that more and more childrenwent to other countries
what we have done all these years is thatwe in six years
with about 50 million euros we helped Romaniawith the closure of
those homes, we succeeded. It worked out really wellthe program iwas admired by even the greatest criticstogether with an awareness campaign about whatchildren's rights are about and no it was
reallysubstantial for 6 years
and it is positively closedthe adoption are in that context of stat, stopped because the european commission andthe highest bosses,said; based on
the Convention on the Rights of the Childthere is now a modern children
child protection establishedwe helped you with that and members of the EUdo not export their children. You have to take care of your youth yourselves,it's a national competence
and you can't say yes that you cantand go through private agencies that are selling themso that was deployed and in 2004 it all seemed is reasonable orderBut then we got a new European Commissionjust like now, every 4 now it's 5 years you get a newCommission
With that new people came into powerpeople that disagreed what we'd done in Romaniawho tried to have forget what had happened, policy wisetried for a reverse
policy that would allow for adoptions againto different countries and that
was not immediately apparant in 2004pats boom but it happened with steady pressure, laboriously pushing and the first thing that toppeld over was me.the new powers that be, removed me from my job over vague reasonswe'll get right back to that in a moment.first, about what you have experienced and what you have achievedand found yes in romania and summarise what you saidbecause this was the essence of your work for the european commissionwas to determine with all stakeholders:who is actually responsible for
child welfare in a countryyes and the conclusion was or still is, not only of theEuropean commission but also from other
organizations, thatthe country is the responsible for her children andromania is responsible for her children . right?yes and we said so in the beginning of that period very clearly, in aa short policy note thatthe situation in Romania with so much foreign interfereanceinfluence of foreign organizations
actually makes it impossible forthe Romanian government to implement their own policyso therefore, for the expansion of the european union, we had to strengthen theRomenian state so they could play their own role, andand be able to do their job independently
because that is not a Europeantask it is the task of the Member States
just like in the Netherlands it's aDutch task to care for child protection here
that is not a competency of the EUand to help them with that European
money wasused to address that situation in Romania
to reinforce themclose the homes, make sure they are there
better for their own childrenyes because that is for the transition, the accession of romania and othersNations that there is EU moneyavailable to ensure that
countries set their standardsappropriately. One of the measures that
they took is that intercountry adoption waswas stopped
no longer allowedforeign adoption was stopped
indeed and that was a huge battleyes you can say something about it fightbetween whom? Battle with receiving countriesMain customerswhere america france italy spain andand then for influence, though not in numbers but political influenceIsrael is also a very important player
and beyond that adoption bureau'sagencies of those countries and adoptive parents on the list that wanted a childand that would be stopped
there were all sorts of interests in betweenand people who you think 'why?' then how? andyes i believe you have .. i yes yes
I received it not so long ago from younot yet finished, but one of the
things that stood out the most in thiswell i'm going to try and quote
you the .. Francois de Combrat?yes that's the name of one offrom a lobbyist yes and you describe..
I can say that its easy readingWhen I finished a third I mailed you and said 'it reads like acrime novel or something'
and then you said yes, that is what it isbut so there was this banker but not a banker like thatwhere I have my bank account
but one for the richpeople, who does mergers and privatizationsthat sort of bankers have a direct lobby connectionto the policy makers and you also write
in the book that at a certain point you did nothing but answer those letters,it took up all your timewas the pressure that came from there
towards youyes those pressure varied from those
letters that I drafted answers forthe letters were also sent very strategically controlled so that didn't just go to my directboss but I went to for example other high frenchofficials and they would threaten
with political interference so he wouldwarn then President Chirac and
then our general manager would thenlose his job and in the beginning
I thought well they exaggeratebut these powers are true
the people were constantly, if someonebut stood somewhere in the way
he had through his connectionsthe power
via his address bookHis contacts had you the power to really interfere so people lost jobsor were given a promotion
promoted out of the waythe most bizarre things i don't know if you
.. files of mine, that I'd prepared for someone high up in the commission all of a suddenended up on a desk in Boekarest
Yes I recall that, you find your ownhandwritten notes or reports on places where you never sent them.on the table of
the State Secretary of Romaniathat can't be
and yes maybe now .. I would have justgrabbed and taken it but then I thought
I was intimidated and so inin disbelief maybe. I then walked out and saidthat my file was on the table there
but that is how it was, there were justnetworks were at work we couldnt grasp . Youjust mentioned a list of countries and I think you meant to saythe countries where adoptive children are going tocustomer yes .. the customers .. I still try to not to see it in money and merchandisebut so this conversation comes to that
I find it hard to make that step emotionally.but the buyers okaythose weren't the parties at that moment you taked toreceiving countries yes. the parties you spoke withwere NGO's or the parties that
performed the odoptionthat were not governmental bodies
the way it wasorganized is that is through
individualsprivate adoption bureaus,
accredited by therecipient countries
for example in the Netherlandsthe Ministry of Justice
you have to deal with it but theyare private agencies that are
non-profit but for theirservicesask money
yes and yes so those adoptions that costthen, it was between 20 and 40
thousand euros per child and childyes well what i understood, inside the within the european union itwas less then if it went to the US, 20 to40 thousand euros yes, so more children went there than .. well if it's commercethat makes sense then.
we were maybe to frugal or tidy, whateverbut in America there was indeed more
money involvedyes and you describe [and then we stop about the book] so see if i get it rightis that these NGO's, Non Governmental Organisationshad a role in strengthening the
situation in romania, so that there would be taken bettercare for the children. The better they spent European money there,the more they were trusted to mediate in getting children abroad.that became a points systemyes that was something special that has been introducedin romenia that was the adoption
agencies were asked for helpfor child protection agencies
that can be in the form of money or inthe form of direct aid, give them a lot of food or or clothes or somethingor pay foster parents and all that help
converted in a calculation modeland for let me say every 50 dollars
then you got a pointand the one with the most points got the most children for adoptionso then you get some sort of
contradictionthe more help goes into the system
the more resource goes into the systemthe better it would be in romania for the kidsno, then more and more children had to be given up for adoptionbecause more of them had points.
so that was a very pervertedsystem. With the team where you were working with youbegan to see through that
no i saw ..The french banker made a fat file four times a year withpictures of children and description of
the houses and the systems inFrench
fat things, and I took that in JulyI had just started. home
in the garden in the sun, Iread them and I read about that
system andwith my background i have studied political economicsi saw market forces at work
and I thought hmm I don't believe thatthat should be in a social system, but it also succeeded because thatthat system of selling children, my words from romania to the restof the world has stopped
we banned it we wouldno longer do it, until 2005?
It is still officially stoppedbut they are actually stoppedwe saw
then we have a discussed internallythere was enormous pressure,
I have been there since 2004since the time it was internationaly established that romania wouldstop adoptions I came
personally under a lot of pressureI was intimidated chased,
those thingsrepeatedly talked to the police and
and we also agreed internally on a wayto take the pressure off me, it wasto put more people on the file and
secondly, and that is the CommissionerVerheugen, my boss
he said there isa risk if you stop such market in a country it's possible it will move to another countrythose adoption agencies are some kind of movingcircus that go from
country to country where they can bidso we said we need aEuropean policy at all levels and tell them this is what we did in romaniaand we need to help other countries now alsoto get things right. and in
that is when at the end of 2004 starts 2005they worked me out and they started doing the reverse. just one more thing:and then we move on, but we need this contextabout adoption. can you tell me in laymans terms why it is better

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