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baby-trafficking ring operated for 20 years
By Conall Ó Fátharta
Irish Examiner, Tuesday, January 24, 2012
An alleged baby-trafficking ring in Mexico, which sought to sell babies
to 11 Irish couples, has been in operation for more than 20 years,
authorities have claimed.
Blanca Barron, of Jalisco state attorney general’s office, told AFP
that the operation may have been in existence for over two decades and
sent children to Italy as well as Ireland.
She said that documents seized from a lawyer’s office during the
investigation showed children had been "legalised" by the
alleged trafficking network in cases going back as far as 1990.
Birth certificates, adoption papers and receipts sent to the babies’
natural mothers were also seized in the raid.
Ireland has adopted 61 children from Mexico between 1991 and 2008. The
Adoption Authority has so far declined to give a figure for the numbers
of Mexican children adopted into the country in the intervening period
Carlos Lopez, the lawyer at the centre of the investigation, has denied
any wrongdoing and said he has helped around 60 Irish couples adopt
legally from Mexico since 2004.
The Adoption Authority has also so far failed to respond to specific
queries about Mr Lopez’s involvement in past adoptions to Ireland
saying it was "inappropriate to comment on individual cases".
Eleven Irish couples were questioned in Mexico in relation to the
apparent child-selling racket. They are all believed to have returned
home to Ireland at the weekend and have not been charged with any
offence. It is still unclear if they willingly took part in the scam or
Authorities have arrested four Mexican women and two men, and seized 10
children between the ages of two months and two years old, in relation
to the investigation. Four of the children have allegedly shown signs of
having been sexually abused.
It is believed the couples were paying 1,200 pesos (€70) a week to the
mothers since pregnancy and were paying for their medical care.
Prosecutors believe that the mothers, who were destitute and some of
whom were illiterate, were duped into handing over their children for
what they believed was an anti-abortion campaign advertised in the local
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|“In all of us there
is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are
and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there
is a hollow yearning . . . and the most disquieting
Alex Haley, Author of Roots