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In this article, Professor Madeleine Plasencia examines the legal context of treatment of disabled children in Guatemala living in institutionalized environments. The article explores evidence that children confined in orphanages and other public care facilities in Guatemala endure conditions that violate the provisions against torture and other cruel or degrading treatment or punishment provided under various international instruments, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The article discusses the growing world-wide desperation from poverty and food scarcity that drives families to place their children with and without disabilities in state-supported institutions. The article argues that foreign funding and volunteer-tourism and international adoption networks contribute to the separation, institutionalization and subsequent commodification of children in an international market.

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