Region 8 organizations help Marshallese women involved in illegal adoption scheme

NEA Helping Trafficked Marshallese Women

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - As of Thursday, 19 of the 28 women trafficked from the Marshall Islands are being helped by agencies here in Arkansas.

Arizona adoption attorney Paul Peterson faces charges in three states, including here in Arkansas for the illegal adoption scheme.

Peterson posed as a missionary in the Marshall Islands and convinced pregnant women to come to the U.S. and give their babies in return for large amounts of money, federal officials said this week.

A pair of agencies here in Region 8 recently started working to help the women affected by the scheme.

Caleigh Parker is an adoption advocate with Woodruff Law Firm in Lake City.

She said they’ve partnered with Shared Beginnings, out of Fayetteville, to work with these women by getting them proper care and treatment.

“To help them get the best care possible through medical, emotional, social, all the different aspects of placing your child for adoption,” said Parker.

Some of the Marshallese women trafficked to the U.S. have been placed in Northeast Arkansas.

Parker said they're currently looking for Marshallese translators and community groups to connect with these pregnant women.

Parker also reached out to Hope Found for Northeast Arkansas, a nonprofit that works with human trafficking victims.

Co-founder of Hope Found, Megan Brown, said they’ll be working with the women involved to get the care they need.

“We can offer transportation to these doctors appointments, we can help coordinate mental help if they need that, housing, food, clothing, any basic need they may need we will be able to help assist with,” said Brown.

Parker said the main goal right now is getting the women involved the care they need, and making sure adoption is still something they want to do.

If you’re interested in helping, you can donate to the Shared Beginnings here.

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