The rights of surrogate mothers in nations and territories such as Albania, Kenya and northern Cyprus are being exploited and violated, the Justice Ministry's National Anti-Trafficking Unit (NATU) warned late last month.
In the announcement, the anti-trafficking unit notes that, based on information obtained by NATU, there are significant legal issues in the way that the surrogacy procedure is undertaken in the countries of Northern Cyprus, Albania, and Kenya.
These legal concerns include “indications of a violation of the basic rights of the surrogate women and their dignity, while objectifying them and limiting their freedom.” Furthermore, “in serious cases, there is even a suspicion of human trafficking.”
The announcement goes on to warn of increased difficulties with surrogacy procedures with these countries going forward due to a variety of reasons including issues related to the poorly regulated and executed surrogacy procedures and the inability to confirm through genetic testing that the child is, in fact, the Israeli parent’s biological child.
NATU is the unit coordinating the fight against human trafficking, prostitution, and polygamy in Israel and is a body within the justice ministry.
Involvement of organized crime
Additionally, the unit claims that “substantial concerns have been raised about the involvement of criminal organizations in the surrogacy procedures.” According to the statement, these organizations take vulnerable women from their families in other foreign countries, forced into prostitution before, during, and/or after the surrogacy procedure, and are under constant watch.
NATU also found that the initial agreement signed by these women to be part of a surrogacy procedure in the first place was highly dubious.
“It is possible to consistently find indications of their exploitation as part of the procedure,” the announcement explains. These indications of exploitation “raise serious doubts regarding the free will of the surrogates to knowingly enter into [their] agreements [as well as] substantial concerns regarding the scope of control over them.”
Things such as economic freedom and freedom of movement for women in these surrogacy roles seems highly doubtful.
The announcement states that the work of the anti-human trafficking unit is in undertaken in cooperation with the Civil Department at the State Attorney's Office as well as with various governmental ministries.