40 Frenchmen Face Court over Bulgarian Baby Trade

Crime | January 21, 2007, Sunday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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Forty Frenchmen from the town of Bobigny, near Paris, will enter courtroom on Monday over charges of buying Bulgarian babies from their impoverished parents.

The baby trafficking ring was busted in October 2005 after a joint operation by Bulgarian border police and their French colleagues.

The court will hear Monday a total of 56 people allegedly involved in the criminal activity - 41 parents, 11 mediators, two biological mothers and two men suspected in pimping.

According to the accusation, in the period July 2001-June 2005 a total of 22 babies were sold to French childless couples.

Police launched investigation into the trafficking channel in July 2004 after a complaint of a mother who had not been given the promised money. The buyers would have to pay EUR 5,000-7,500 depending on whether the baby is a boy or a girl. The biological mother, however, would receive only EUR 400-1000.

The babies were found in good health, taken good care of in the foster families who have agreed to the illegal trade only out of the desire to have children.

A judge on child abuse from the tribunal in the Paris suburb of Bobigny will decide the fate of the babies. The judges may order the children to be taken away and placed in social care centers with the foster families either be allowed to see them or not. The families may also be allowed the take care of the children but under surveillance.

If found guilty, the "baby suppliers" may be sentenced to ten years in jail and their clients - up to three years imprisonment, plus hefty fines of some EUR 45,000.
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