Sunday December 21, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
17o C
10o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Adoption red tape fuels baby trade

 Infant-trading rackets active in Greece as bureaucracy means children in institutions still missing out
About 35 children are placed for adoption every year through the Mitera Foster Home in Athens, when the number of requests reaches about 200. The vast majority of adoptive parents prefer to sign a private agreement with a natural mother willing to hand over her infant.

By Lina Giannarou

Stoyanka Stoyanova, of Sliven, Bulgaria, gave birth in a hospital in Greece. She spent 40 days with her infant before it was sold. The buyers gave the middleman his fee in an envelope. She was promised 1,000 euros, but she never received any money. “Then they put me on a bus and sent me back home.”

Another woman, Velichka Vicheva, who was 17 at the time, told her father that she would travel to Greece to pick grapes. She gave birth at a hospital in Larissa but the deal between the child-seeking couple and the trafficker was scrapped. Eventually, Vicheva was taken to Athens, where a buyer was found in just one hour.

The women tell their stories in a documentary that was shown on Bulgaria’s Nova TV back in August 2006. The film was mentioned in a report by the International Herald Tribune in December that year titled “Baby trafficking is thriving in Greece.”

The discovery of a blond girl known as Maria at a Roma camp in Farsala, central Greece, has caused a national sensation and spurred the authorities to action, but the uncomfortable truth is that we have been reluctant to heed past warnings.

The media at home and abroad as well as human rights organizations have repeatedly warned about the growing problem of baby trafficking, but the authorities have largely turned a deaf ear. There has been very little action to tackle illegal adoptions although Greece is known to be a haven for baby trafficking.

Anyone who wants to find information about adopting a baby can do so. In clinics and hospitals across the country, women from Bulgaria, Albania and other countries (not necessarily Roma women) give birth to children who are given up for adoption in exchange for a fee. Middlemen work with doctors and lawyers who are also part of the baby-trafficking racket.

In most cases, the two parties do not even follow the process of private adoption, which is legitimate (paying a fee is against the law), i.e. filling out the necessary paperwork. After failing to conceive a child through in vitro fertilization (IVF), a couple in northern Greece were informed of the “alternatives” by their doctor at the maternity clinic. About a year ago, they received a call from the doctor. “Come now,” he told them. The couple found themselves in a room at a Thessaloniki clinic where a Bulgarian Roma woman had just given birth to a boy. Staff at the hospital made sure that the Greek woman was registered as the mother of the child.

Most candidate parents take the illegal road because they are put off by the long waiting periods for children living in institutions (it can take up to five years, against the European average of 2.5 years). About 35 children are placed for adoption every year through the Mitera Foster Home in Athens, when the number of requests reaches 200 (according to staff at Mitera, the long waiting list is not the result of red tape but the lack of children available for adoption).

As a result, the vast majority of adoptive parents prefer to sign a private agreement with a natural mother willing to hand over her infant. Of the 500 children who are adopted every year (those who appear on official records), only one-fifth come from state adoption institutions.

At the heart of the problem is contradictory legislation. On one hand, it allows adoption by single-parent families (it is quite progressive in that respect) but, on the other, it has introduced private adoptions without any state supervision, which creates risky loopholes.

In May 2011, then Health Minister Andreas Loverdos and Justice Minister Haris Kastanidis announced plans to update the country’s legislation in a bid to make sure that no adoptions would be put on hold because of time-consuming procedures. However, a special committee that was subsequently set up to look into the issue never completed its task.

ekathimerini.com , Tuesday October 22, 2013 (20:59)  
Youngsters’ memories of the anti-landfill blockades
Event to promote awareness of tax issues for foreign residents
Thousands of children journey into the unknown
Slow compensation thwarts fight against antiquity smuggling
El Greco-inspired, metal sculptures in Russia
SAINT PETERSBURG – Standing beneath the 101.52-meter gold-plated dome of the State Museum St Isaac’s Cathedral, Nikos Floros seemed visibly moved. Two works by the Greek artist, each standin...
Documentary traces the musical legacy of the great Nikos Xylouris
For three successive generations, the family of the legendary Cretan singer-songwriter Nikos Xylouris and his brother, the equally famous Antonis Xylouris, known as Psarantonis, have kept th...
Inside Life
Inside Travel
Inside Gastronomy
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Political saga is harming liquidity
2. Bad timing for tenders as oil rates decline
3. Tax exemptions deprive state budget of over 3.5 bln euros
4. Teiresias to track letters of guarantee
5. Agenda
6. Greek PM offers compromise solution with elections by end-2015
more news
Today
This Week
1. Greek PM offers compromise solution with elections by end-2015
2. Who lost Greece
3. ‘Crisis of confidence will come back again and again,’ says Thomas Piketty
4. Snubbing the moderates
5. Agenda
6. Teiresias to track letters of guarantee
Today
This Week
1. Samaras summons bond vigilantes with euro exit talk
2. A friendly yet firm message from Pierre Moscovici
3. Europe's drama in Greece needs final act to avoid tragedy
4. High stakes
5. On the edge but not gutless
6. Gap between SYRIZA and New Democracy closing, says poll
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.