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Traffickers “know when somebody has lost a husband in a tragic way and is vulnerable and is not coping — and then they get flagged.” That’s exactly what happened in Mata’s village, Riley says: A villager-turned-trafficker made a pitch at a local church and managed to get seven children into the adoption circuit, including Mata, who was sent to a place called God’s Mercy, about a four-hour drive away. According to an affidavit obtained by CNN, Mata’s mother ultimately told a Ugandan family court that she was grief-stricken after her husband died in a vehicle accident March 28, 2014, and was told about a way to get Mata a good education.That’s where the Davises met her: “She was at an orphanage. “I had not realized that I had gone through a process to take away my parental rights completely,” the mother said in sworn testimony September 8, 2016.Keren Riley of Reunite, a grass-roots organization that helps return trafficked children to their birth mothers, says facilitators on the ground prey on vulnerable moms, often widows, promising educational opportunities for their children.The traffickers, she says, can include police and lawyers, teachers and local leaders.She also said Mata’s birth mother knew that her daughter was being adopted and taken to America, despite the Ugandan court’s finding that Mata’s mother had been lied to.
Shuttered business, elusive owner The headquarters of European Adoption Consultants, or EAC, sits abandoned on a manicured lawn in a business park in Strongsville, Ohio, outside Cleveland.An investigation by CNN into this alleged trafficking scheme found that children are being taken from their homes in Uganda on the promise of better schooling, placed into orphanages even though they aren’t orphans, and sold for as much as ,000 each to unsuspecting American families.CNN’s investigation discovered that multiple families were duped this way.Complicating matters, there is no word for “adoption” in the language many Ugandan villagers speak, Riley says, so mothers are easily deceived.“It’s easy to pull the wool over their eyes,” says Riley, who arranged the video reunion between Mata and her birth mother.