‘Maria’ not on Interpol’s list of missing children, Greek Police says

The young girl found living with a couple who are not her biological parents in a Roma camp in central Greece last week is not on Interpol’s list of missing children, the Greek Police told Skai on Tuesday.

The child, who is aged between 5 and 6 and has come to be known as “Maria,” is not on the international agency’s list of 610 missing children, DNA findings have confirmed.

The finding has led local authorities to believe that the most likely scenario is that Maria ended up at the Roma camp in Farsala, central Greece, following a crackdown on illegal adoptions in neighboring Bulgaria in the 2008-2010 period.

The Roma couple charged with Maria’s abduction have insisted that the child was left in their care by a Bulgarian Roma couple, which local authorities are now trying to trace.

The discovery of the blonde, blue-eyed girl at the Roma camp in Farsala has triggered an international search for her biological parents, with The Smile of the Child – which is caring for Maria – and local authorities receiving thousands of telephone calls from parents around the world looking for their missing children.

Responding to concerns from rights groups that the Maria incident may lead to discrimination against the country’s Roma, Greek Police spokesman Christos Parthenis told Skai on Tuesday that recent raids on Roma camps across Greece are part of a general crackdown on crime.

“The police’s operations are in no way targeting specific individuals or social groups, but are part of an effort to prevent and quell crime in particular areas, including Roma camps,” Parthenis said.

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