In an extensive report, the Balkan Insight claims that there are close to hundreds of children being sold by mothers in Bulgaria to Greek couples every year.
The report notes that while mothers profit with 1,000 euros to 5,000 euros for selling their newborn, most of the money ends up going to the smugglers and not the mothers. Bulgarian police note that a child is usually sold for anywhere between 3,000 and 30,000 euros with boys going for 40,000 euros in previous years before the crisis hit.
“It is not uncommon afterwards for the traffickers to cheat the women out of their promised money, throwing them €500 or so or even just a ticket home to Bulgaria” a Bulgarian investigator is quoted as saying.
The report notes that the smugglers are mostly Roma. Smugglers bring the pregnant women to Greece and keep them inside houses until it is time to give birth. Once the child is born they are then sent back to Bulgaria. The Balkan Insight cites a Greek official who claimed that the network would be impossible without support from doctors, lawyers and perhaps prosecutors.
Stanka, a Roma woman who sold her child to a Greek couple for 3,500 euros shared her experience in Greece, noting that she was staying with two other pregnant women in an apartment and was not being treated badly.
“When the time came they took me to the hospital, it looked as if they were familiar with the medical team. After the birth they became rougher – they made me sign some documents that were incomprehensible to me, almost threw the money at me – just half of what we had agreed, took the child and sent me back to Bulgaria,” she said.
The report notes that the whole process is facilitated by the legality of private adoptions in Greece.
The authors also examined how the Bulgarian village of Kameno, which includes a significant Roam population, has private houses that have been built thanks to child trafficking.