Dutch suspend foreign adoptions after abuses found
The Netherlands is suspending all adoptions from abroad with immediate effect, after an official inquiry found many abuses.
The investigation focused on the adoption of children from Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka from 1967 to 1998.
Minister for Local Protection Sander Dekker said Dutch governments had failed for years to intervene.
The abuses included coercing or paying birth mothers to give up children.
The investigative committee found that Dutch government officials were aware of wrongdoing and that some were involved in abuses, though it did not find evidence of bribery.
Mr Dekker said officials had failed by "looking away from abuses for years".
"The government has not done what should be expected of it and should have taken a more active role in preventing abuse, and that is a painful observation. There are apologies for this. And I therefore offer these apologies to the adoptees today, on behalf of the cabinet."
One Dutch woman who is searching for her birth parents in Indonesia told the BBC she welcomed the government's decision, saying the current system had encouraged the trafficking of children.
Widya Astuti Boerma, 45, said "Dutch inter-country adoption is still based on a money incentive procedure and this motivates trafficking.
"Today, inter-country adoption is still focused on adoption parents who are looking for a child, and this should actually be the other way around."