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Why Nepal Put a Ban on Adoptions

Devastating earthquakes that shook Nepal in April and earlier this month left hundreds of thousands of families homeless and thousands dead. Countless children were left orphaned and vulnerable.

As aid has rushed in to help those in need, authorities have banned travel for all children 16 years and younger. Strangers found traveling with children will be monitored by police, a representative from the Child Welfare Board told reporters.

The ban is an attempt to prevent child abduction and trafficking, an easier prospect for criminals in the chaotic aftermath of the quakes. District officials are on high alert.

"If strangers are found travelling with children, they will be under the watch of police," Radhika Aryal from the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare said.

The country has also placed a moratorium on international adoption in Nepal for the next three months. Authorities arrested four adults who they found traveling with 11 children between 10 and 12 years old. The adults did not have the required paperwork.

Every year, thousands of Nepali women and children are tricked into work in brothels and as child laborers in neighboring India. Children's rights activists are warning authorities that the devastation from these two natural disasters leave Nepalis even more vulnerable.

"After the earthquake, traffickers' groups could become very active targeting parents who have lost their homes to send their children with them promising education or a better life," Krishna Thapa from the rights group Voice of Children said.

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