By staff writers From: NewsCore January 26, 2011 3:40AM
BULGARIAN and Greek police have arrested 14 people who allegedly trafficked newborn babies to Greece, Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said yesterday.
Five people were arrested in Bulgaria and nine others in Greece for allegedly organizing the illegal adoption of at least 14 Bulgarian babies, primarily of Roma origin, Tsvetanov said.
The arrests were made in the cities of Varna, Burgas and Yambol, in eastern Bulgaria, and in Lamia in the southeast of Greece, where police also found a newborn baby prepared for adoption on faked documents, Varna regional prosecutor Vladimir Chavdarov told the state-owned BTA news agency.
The price of the babies depended on “their gender and skin color” with an average 25,000 euros ($34,200) paid for boys and 18,000 to 20,000 euros for girls.
The pregnant Roma women, who agreed to give birth in a Lamia hospital and sell their babies to Greek couples, received just a fraction of the sum, he said.
Police found the babies in Lamia, and the cities of Thessaloniki and Patra, as well as the capital Athens.
Bulgarian police have uncovered several cases of baby trafficking to Greece, France and other countries in recent years.
Most of the criminal schemes involved pregnant women from Bulgaria’s poor Roma minority, who agreed to recognize the foreigner who was to buy the baby as its father in order to avoid lengthy international adoption procedures.