On the day that a Roma couple is to appear in court to face charges brought against them concerning the child, known as Maria, found at their home in Farsala in central Greece, the Roma community that surround them have started what can only be described as an orchestrated campaign to brush away the appearance of wrongdoing.
The media today featured photographs of the one-bedroom home, arguing that the little girl had the exclusive use of the only bedroom while the family slept ‘elsewhere’. Images were also shown of a chest of drawers, the only item of furniture for storing clothes and also argued that this was solely for the use of the child. I have taken the liberty of reproducing the images here, although I claim no ownership to them.
Is there anyone that seriously believes this farcical concoction? I am not saying that the family mistreated the child, but what I am saying is that I don’t believe for one second that all of the family slept in the sitting room while the little girl had her own bed, in her own room, complete with a chest of drawers – the only chest of drawers in the house! I don’t believe it any more than I believe the absurd comment from another of the Roma, saying that “Maria’s hair turned blonde naturally”.
Given that the family and their acquaintances appear to be habitual liars, it really does beg the question: where did the child come from? The Roma community in Farsala are now saying that the child was left behind by an itinerant Bulgarian couple, who worked in Greece. They had left to seek work, leaving the family to look after the child. Yet the brother of the man claiming to be Maria’s father repeated the defence that she had been given to them lawfully after her birth, according to the BBC’s Mark Lowen in Athens. Several explanations have now been given and it would be prudent for any authority dealing with these people to question the veracity of any statement that they make.
If, as has been intimated by the Greek police, that this case is not unique, then the relevant authorities need to be aware that other such, possibly adducted, children with Roma are now at serious risk. They are clearly living, breathing evidence of what must surely be one of the most vile criminal pursuits seen since the travellers in the UK who enslaved people with learning disabilities to work for them for nothing. Those children are in a precarious situation indeed, make no mistake.
What is becoming clear is this: Given the extent of child abduction and trafficking, shouldn’t the nation states of the EU now be consolidating their efforts by acting together in a more cohesive sense? A good starting point would be a mandatory 21-year sentence in prison for child exploitation, to include abduction and trafficking as a specific offence.