BBC documentary exposes baby trafficking scandal by the Catholic church in Spain…

A new investigation has revealed that up to 300,000 Spanish babies were stolen from their parents and sold for adoption over a period of five decades. The children were trafficked by a secret network of doctors, nurses, priests and nuns. Several mothers say they were told their first-born children had died during or soon after they gave birth and were told they could not see the body of the infant or attend their burial.

Official documents were forged so the adoptive parents’ names were on the infants’ birth certificates. It’s believed that many of the parents were unaware that they had received stolen children, as they were usually told the birth mother had given them up.

Journalist Katya Adler, who has investigated the scandal, says: ‘The situation is incredibly sad for thousands of people.

‘There are men and women across Spain whose lives have been turned upside-down by discovering the people they thought were their parents actually bought them for cash. There are also many mothers who have maintained for years that their babies did not die – and were labelled “hysterical” – but are now discovering that their child has probably been alive and brought up by somebody else all this time.’

Experts believe the kidnappings account for up to 15 per cent of the total adoptions in Spain between 1960 and 1989.

It began as a system for taking children away from families that were seen as political threats to the regime of General Franco, which began in 1939. It continued after the dictator’s death in 1975 as the Catholic church continued to retain a powerful influence on public life, particularly in social services.

In 1987 the Spanish government, instead of hospitals, began to regulate adoptions.

The scandal came to light after two men, Antonio Barroso and Juan Luis Moreno, discovered they had been stolen as babies.

Mr Moreno’s ‘father’ confessed on his deathbed to having bought him as a baby from a priest in Zaragoza in northern Spain. He told his son he had been accompanied on the trip by Mr Barroso’s parents, who bought Antonio at the same time for 200,000 pesetas – a huge sum at the time.

‘That was the price of an apartment back then,’ Mr Barroso said. ‘My parents paid it in instalments over the course of ten years because they did not have enough money.’

DNA tests proved that the couple who brought Mr Barroso were not his biological parents and the nun who sold him has admitted to it.

The San Ramon clinic is believed to be one of the major centres for the practice of stealing children.

Many mothers who gave birth there claim that when they asked to see their child after being told it had died, they were shown a baby’s corpse that appeared to be freezing cold.

The BBC doc entitled “This World: Spain’s Stolen Babies” shows photographs taken in the Eighties of a dead baby kept in a freezer, allegedly to show grieving mothers.

Despite hundreds of families of babies who disappeared in Spanish hospitals calling on the government to open an investigation into the scandal, no nationally co-ordinated probe has taken place. Because of amnesty laws passed after Franco’s death, crimes that took place during his regime are usually not examined. Regional prosecutors across the country are investigating each story on a case-by-case basis, with 900 currently under review.

There are believed to be thousands more cases that will never come to light because the stolen children fear their adoptive parents will be seen as criminals.

Many of the families of stolen babies have taken DNA tests in the hope of eventually being matched with their children. Some matches have already been made but, without a nationally co-ordinated database, reuniting lost relatives will be a very difficult process.





1 Comment

  1. If you still insist on being a catholic, please do not leave your children alone with priest/ bishop otherwise you are culpable to any despicable crime.

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