Internet auction baby's new parents cannot be prosecuted

20th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

The prosecution service also declined to pursue the child's adoptive parents on charges of human trafficking.

THE HAGUE - Dutch prosecutors said that a Dutch couple who adopted a Belgian-born baby girl via the Internet cannot be prosecuted even though they acted illegally.

Under Dutch law, legal proceedings for the crime of illegal adoption has to be instituted within two years of the act, and the child's biological father has waited too long, the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

"The illegal adoption has taken place in March 2005," a month after the birth of the girl known as Donna, said the statement.

The prosecution service also declined to pursue the child's adoptive parents on charges of human trafficking.

"The foster parents did not act with the intention of exploiting Donna," it said.

"This leads to the conclusion that it is not possible to prosecute the foster parents successfully for bringing Donna into their family."

In May last year, a Dutch court ruled that Donna should stay with the Dutch couple.

The case of little Donna, whose surrogate mother put her up for sale in an Internet auction, according to media, has become a major cross-border legal battle.

The biological father, Bart Philtjens, a Belgian whose own wife could not have children, started legal proceedings to gain custody of the girl.

The Belgian woman who gave birth to the child originally agreed to hand over the child to Philtjens in exchange for 10,000 euros (13,200 dollars), but reneged on the deal, Dutch media reported.

The reports said the woman instead put the baby up for sale by auction on the Internet.

A criminal investigation is still underway in Belgium.

(AFP/Expatica)

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