Victims and families of babies stolen from Morocco and Spain and sold spanning over six decades are calling upon the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis I to intervene in the scandal which also involved priests, nuns and the Catholic Church in Spain.
The issue, which started way back in 1930s, where babies born to poor, Moroccan families were traded to families in Spain who could not have children, takes another twist next week as one of the prime suspects, a medical doctor is due to appear in court.
The Spanish government has been lukewarm, sluggish in its approach of tackling the scandal, probably because of the direct involvement of the Catholic Church.
However, pressure from rights’ organisations, the victims of the crime against humanity, and the sheer interest of the international media is pushing the government to sit up – show concern and take action.
Last month, the Spanish police made a vital breakthrough by unearthing a racket in which babies born to needy mothers in Morocco and the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla were sold to well-to-do families in Spain during the 1970s and 1980s.
Some of the “stolen babies”, today adults are asking for their biological parents and want justice to be brought into the scandal, so that the traffickers should be punished and the baby-trafficking trade squashed or terminated forever.
Pope’s concern solicited
With the Holy See, Pope Francis regarded as the Good Shepherd of the poor, some of the victims of the “stolen babies’ scandal” are pleading to him to use his power to ensure the role the Catholic Church played in this baby trafficking in fully investigated.
In the latest of the Spanish Police findings, 28 cases were identified where newly born babies were snatched from their mothers, were sold to families in mainland Spain who could not have children, for a price tag of between 1,200 and 6,000 Euros.
The trafficking of children in Spain by a secret network of doctors, nurses, priests and nuns, all began as a system for taking children away from families considered politically dangerous to the regime of General Francisco Franco in 1939.
The system, however, continued even after Franco’s death in 1975 as the Catholic Church continued to retain a powerful influence on public life, predominantly in social services.
It is estimated that about 300,000 newborns so far , have changed hand in the illicit business as thousands more cases are believed to be concealed as the stolen children might be afraid their adoptive parents would be considered as criminal and prefer to let sleeping dogs lie.