RMI welcomes federal crackdown on Marshallese baby smuggling


Pregnant woman

Majuro— Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine welcomed the recent arrest of county official in Arizona, who was charged in U.S. courts with human smuggling in connection with alleged sale of Marshallese children.

Paul Petersen, the elected county assessor of Arizona’s Maricopa County, was arrested and charged with a number of offenses in Utah, Arizona and Arkansas in relation to an alleged international adoption scheme, which involved soliciting unwitting young pregnant women into giving away their children in return for cash or tickets to the United States.

“Marshallese women have been induced by people like Petersen and his ilk for too long,” Heine said.