17. The vertical movements described here often open up the possibility for mistreatment and exploitation, such that NGOs and government agencies sometimes label this long-used strategy as “child trafficking.” Elsewhere (Leinaweaver 2005) I discuss in more depth the hierarchical aspects of both child circulation (Weismantel 1988:171) and godparenting, and the ways in which both bring people into closer social relations through layers of obligation and duty. Scholars have demonstrated that the godparent is relationally important not so much to the child, but rather to the child’s parent (Davila 1971, Delgado Sumar 1994; Foster 1953; Mauss 1990; Mintz and Wolf 1950; Ossio 1984). See Schildkrout 1978 on how children may move more freely because of their unique social position; also see Urban 1996:137 on how talk is circulated in a potentially similar fashion.

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