We've blogged about the Romanian treatment of the orphan and street kid problem, the EU reaction and the Romanian response to that before. Sky TV, a British TV station, showed a report last week that stirred some blood here. A team of reporters with pocketsful of Euros grazed the poorer areas of Bucharest, trying to buy babies. Did they succeed? You bet they did.
Sky News' Lawrence Lee reports:
It proved remarkably simple to buy a baby. You go to the outdoor market in Bucharest, and look for the poorest people, who, inevitably, are laden with young children. You pretend to be a couple desperate to adopt; in the space of a single afternoon we met one man who offered us whichever of his daughter's 20-or-so children we wanted; another offered us his wife's unborn child for 500 euros (£350). Not only does this seem to raise grave questions about Romania's suitability to be a part of the EU, it also causes a huge headache for the agencies who continue to fight a losing battle against gangs engaged in people trafficking.This comes as no surprise to people living in Romania. The recent changes in the adoption law -- namely, that foreigners are only allowed to adopt if it's proven that no Romanian wants a specific child -- have not improved the situation. It's a remarkably stupid law in the first place, and then, of course, it's not enforced consistently. Money will buy you anything, also the cooperation of an official. Speaking of enforcement: how do you think the authorities reacted to the Sky News report? They are now seeking the families who offered their children for sale in order to prosecute them. The National Authority for Child Protection and Adoption is helping the Department against Organized Crime and Drugs [sic!] which is conducting the investigation. Where is the Child Protection service when those children end up on the street because their parents cannot feed them anymore? Why the Police Department against Organized Crime? What is anybody doing against the roots of the problem? Sky News:
The Mayor of Bucharest, a forward-looking man who's one of the few here prepared to admit that big problems still exist, was apoplectic. "You wouldn't treat a dog like this," he said, and he was obviously right. "But what to do?" He reckoned it was about education, but in truth many Romanians regard the Roma as an internal cancer, keeping their country in the middle ages.This is true, I'm sorry to say.