ROTTERDAM, Netherlands

The Netherlands suspended overseas adoption Monday following a critical report that exposed abuses. 

Legal Protection Minister Sander Dekker said the government failed to intervene for years by turning a blind eye to the abuses.

Dekker apologized to victims and said all adoptions from abroad have been suspended with immediate effect.

The move came in the wake of a Joustra Commission report on the role and responsibility of the Dutch government in inter-country adoption of children from 1967 to 1997.

It said the Netherlands behaved very passively in the adoption process in the past, therefore the supervision of procedures was insufficient and there was no intervention in abuses that occurred.

The statement said the commission encountered structural abuses in countries where investigations were carried out and the Dutch government was aware of violations in some cases, but did not effectively intervene.

The abuses included child theft and trafficking, and unethical acts of government officials — known since the 1960s, the statement added.

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