Joan Collins
OFFICERS of the National Police Force in the Balearics have broken up an organised group of Romanians who, among other crimes, allegedly bought children in Romania, brought them to Palma and made them beg on the streets. According to police sources, who had codenamed the operation “Baby”, nine men and women aged between 21 and 41 years have been arrested and nine children have been found who have been put in the care of the social services. The sources said that the gang concentrated on “buying” children from their parents in Romania; and on the trafficking of older Romanian people as well, with the sole purpose of using them as beggars in Palma. It appears that those arrested used the social services to get necessities for the children.
However, all the money obtained, which amounted to 600 euros daily, or 18'000 euros monthly, was sent back to their country of origin.
According to the investigation, begging took place daily outside the doors of commercial centres, from the time they opened at around 8.30am to when they closed at around 9pm, “without any breaks”. On the days when the centres didn't open the begging was transferred to other places, such as the areas surrounding churches.
With the aim of extracting money, these false beggars showed photographs of children, asking for money for the serious illnesses that these children were supposedly suffering from. They also sold tissues at traffic lights or acted as parking attendants.
The sources confirmed that the investigation was started when it was discovered that some people were being exploited and forced to beg in Palma.
It was also discovered that a complaint had been made to the Romanian authorities.
A family had complained that their daughter, a minor, was being exploited by the people who have now been arrested, and they wanted her found.
The first four people arrested have been accused of aiding illegal immigration, illegal association and trafficking in minors for the express purpose of begging. As for the others, they are either accused of being in the country illegally or have deportation orders against them.
The police sources added that none of the exploited people in the case wanted to press charges.

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