Police in Ireland have removed a seven-year-old child from a Roma family in Dublin.
The blond-haired, blue-eyed girl was found living with a Roma couple in a house in Tallaght, on the outskirts of Dublin.
The police have handed the girl over to be be cared for by the Irish governments’ health service executive while they carry out their investigation.
Meanwhile in Athens, investigations continue into the identity of another blond-haired and blued-eyed child known as Maria.
While the Roma couple she was found with remain behind bars pending trial, their neighbours have been talking to journalists.
One woman said that Maria was bought, a common practice among Roma: “The child was just fine here. Sure, she (the woman who has been arrested) bought it. Children are bought (for adoption) if someone does not have children that is what is done. This woman took this child to raise it, the mother that sold it, maybe she was poor, had problems, and she wanted to give it to a good family.”
The case has triggered an international debate about child trafficking and thousands of people have come forward with leads, contacting the authorities and the Greek charity ‘Smile of the Child’ which is looking after Maria.
Greek birth certificate investigation ordered
Greece’s top court has ordered an urgent investigation into birth certificates issued across the country in the past six years after the discovery that the Roma couple had falsely registered Maria as their own child.
“The Maria case may not be an isolated incident and this could have happened in other parts of the country,” the Supreme Court prosecutor’s order said.
The Roma couple used false IDs to register four-year-old Maria, saying she was born at home.
The order told other prosecutors across Greece to investigate birth certificates issued since 2008 on the basis of a signed declaration by parents rather than those issued after births recorded at a hospital.
Any cases of false birth certificates found must be investigated further for any evidence tying it illegal abduction or human trafficking, the order said.