Saturday, April 2, 2011

'stolen' newborn babies

Spain investigates tragedy of 'stolen' newborn babies

Antonio Barroso at the office of Anadir, an association set-up to support suspected victims of alleged baby trade Antonio Barroso has been told he was bought at birth

Related Stories

Antonio Barroso always suspected that something in his family wasn't quite right. He was 38 when the secret was finally revealed: his parents had bought him as a baby.

"I discovered my whole life was a lie," Antonio said.

The truth came out during the deathbed confession of a family friend. Like Antonio's parents, he and his wife had been unable to conceive. Both couples had bought their babies from a nun, for "more than the price of a flat".

Antonio's mother has since confirmed the story and DNA tests have proved he has no genetic link to the couple who raised him. His birth certificate had been falsified.

'Illicit trade'

"I want to know the truth," Antonio said, flicking through snapshots of his childhood, "To find out who I am and where I come from. I want to know what happened and who was responsible. And if people need to be punished, they should be punished".

Antonio soon discovered other cases similar to his own, and signs of an illicit trade in newborn babies.

At the support group he set up in Vilanova i la Geltru, his home town on the Catalan coast, the phone rarely stops ringing. The desk is piled high with letters from Spaniards who fear they could be victims of a criminal network, thought to have operated until the 1990s.

Start Quote

We were starting to make a family and they destroyed that completely. I have to meet my daughter. I want to tell her, girl, I'm your Dad”

End Quote Salvador Martin Father, who believes his daughter was stolen from him

For some, that suspicion is strengthened by Spain's history. After the civil war, children were removed from Republican prisoners and given to supporters of General Franco's dictatorship. Historians estimate up to 30,000 children were affected by the 'ideological cleansing'.


"In the 1950s, that practice was converted into mafia business," said Enrique Vila, a lawyer helping Antonio's support group, Anadir. "The goal became money. They took children from anyone, to sell."

The lawyer believes some babies were abandoned by unmarried Catholic girls or prostitutes and others were stolen after doctors told mothers that their newborns had died.

Ana Josefa Escabia died several hours after giving birth in Terrassa in 1975. Her husband clearly remembers seeing his daughter alive.

"I saw her born," Salvador Martin said, his eyes welling with tears, 36 years later. "She was gorgeous, just like her sister."

But doctors later told Salvador his baby had been stillborn. A sealed coffin was delivered to the cemetery.

Salvador Martin and wife Ana Josefa, in 1970s, just before she became pregnant Ana Josefa Escabia and her husband were told that their baby was stillborn

Last December, tormented by doubts, Salvador decided to open the family vault. DNA tests revealed the baby inside was a boy, and no relation.

Salvador is now desperate to know what happened to his daughter. No other baby was buried in Terrassa on that day. He is convinced his child was stolen.

DNA database

"It's not like a bag of oranges that you sell. It's a child," he said, holding a picture of Ana shortly before she became pregnant. "We were starting to make a family and they destroyed that completely. I have to meet my daughter. I want to tell her, girl, I'm your Dad".

Dolores Diaz Cerpa, one of many mothers who is searching for a child she believes was stolen Dolores Diaz Cerpa believes her son was stolen from her

That longing to be reunited has led Anadir to create a DNA database. When a scientist recently visited Seville to take swabs, the small hall was packed with people convinced that their children had been stolen.

Among those queuing nervously was 72-year-old Dolores Diaz Cerpa. She gave birth in 1973 and says when she awoke from surgery she saw 2 cots. A nurse said she'd had twins. But the boy was then removed and when Dolores woke up again she was told she'd had a girl.

"I always believed I'd had two children and they took one off me," Dolores said. "I would dream of him and wake up wondering how he was."

That conviction was compounded in 1995 when she requested her medical records and was sent papers for a baby boy. Dolores is entering her DNA in the database in the hope that the child she's so sure she gave birth to is alive.

"If he knows he's adopted, I just want him to know I didn't abandon him. He was stolen," she says, echoing the view of many mothers here.

Anadir has more than 800 members now. Other groups have more. Most are women who never saw their babies' bodies, never believed they had died and can find no record of their burials at cemeteries.

One of many Spanish courts now investigating allegations of a baby trafficking network Antonio Barroso has been asked to make a statement in court

It is possible many of the children are really dead, that there are simply mistakes in the paperwork, or that mothers are confused, still raw from their loss.

Court summons

But signs of a more sinister story are mounting.

A former nurse has claimed she witnessed baby-thefts in Madrid. A cemetery worker in Granada told the BBC he had handled child coffins that were suspiciously light, and now Anadir says a woman who was told her child had died has just been reunited with her daughter in Barcelona. The family have not spoken publicly.

Spain's courts are certainly taking the claims seriously.

Anadir delivered details of 261 cases of suspected baby-theft to the state prosecutor in January. Regional prosecutors have been ordered to investigate. Across Spain hundreds of people are now being summoned to make statements. New cases are being reported all the time.

After years of fighting to get the courts to listen, Antonio Barroso has also been called to see the prosecutor. For him this is not only about trying to expose a criminal practice. It is about discovering who he really is.


  1. Hopefully with the content on this blog, I can add to my insight, thank you |
    Cara Mengatasi Bisul Di Anus |
    Obat cacar api paling ampuh

  2. Accuracy and punctuality, and the control and pesticide spraying schedule assigned to each house to ensure the provision of high quality service.
    شركة النجوم لمكافحة الحشرات
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بمكة
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بمكة
    شركة تنظيف بمكة


  3. نجار خشب بالرياض
    افضل خدمات الاثاث و العفش بالرياض نقدم افضل الخدمات في مجال الاثاث حيث يتوفر لدينا باقة من افضل و اجود المختصيين و الفنيين المتواجدون في مدينىة الرياض , اسعار خاصة بشركة هلال الخليج لتركيبات اثاث و عفش بمنطقة الرياض
    نجار خشب متخصص غرف نوم
    مقدم نحن شركة هلال الخليج افضل الفنيين في مجار النجارة الخاص بغرف النوم
    نجار خشب متخصص مطابخ
    فني اثاث المطابخ بانواعها المختلفة و جودة عمل ممتازة مقدمه من شركتنا مع عمالة مدربة على اعلي مستوى
    نجار خشب فني اثاث و عفش
    تركيبات الاثاث والعفش خدمة معتمدة خاصة بشركة تركيب الاثاث بالرياض , نجار خشب بالرياض
    نجار بالرياض
    افضل خدمات الاثاث و العفش بالرياض

    نجار خشب بالرياض
    نجار خشب شمال الرياض
    نجار خشب جنوب الرياض
    نجار خشب شرق الرياض
    نجار خشب غرب الرياض
    فني اثاث و عفش بالرياض
    نسعى دائما لتقيدم الافضل بين كافة الشركات المتخصصة في مجال الاثاث و العفش المنزلي , فني متخصص نجارة اثاث
    نجار خشب بشمال الرياض
    نقدم كافة الخدمات الخاصة بالنجارة من شركة هلال الخليج للتركيبات


  4. I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform
    are you using for this website? I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers
    and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform

    my website - 휴게텔

  5. Thanks for your post. The article is neatly organized with the information I want, so there are many things to refer to. Bookmark this site and visit often in the future. Thanks again.^^ keonhacai

  6. I was impressed by your writing. Your writing is impressive. I want to write like you. 스포츠토토

  7. Thanks for sharing a nice article really such a wonderful site you have done a great job once more thanks a lot. 파워볼사이트

  8. Thanks for sharing a nice article really such a wonderful site. If you are looking for the best institute to learn digital marketing course in Jaipur, then you can join Infonic training and development center career opportunities after completion. to learn the best digital marketing caourse . With a vision to provide quality training by experienced trainers and also an internship that provides students with

  9. IrelandAssignmentHelper is a trusted essay writing service provider that offers a professional "do my essay" service. Our experienced and qualified writers are available 24/7 to provide you with high-quality and authentic essays that are tailored to your specific needs. We are committed to providing affordable and competitive pricing for our services, ensuring that you receive the best possible value for your money. Our goal is to help you achieve academic success and earn the grades you deserve. So, whether you need a custom essay, research paper, or term paper, contact us today and let us do the work for you.

  10. Nice post
    Struggling to complete your assignments on time? Don't worry My Assignment Help Singapore is here to help. Our team of experienced assignment writers in Singapore provides top-notch online assignment help services to students across the country. We understand the importance of timely submission, and that's why we guarantee to deliver your assignments on time, every time. With our best assignment help services, you can rest assured that you'll receive high-quality assignments that meet your requirements. Contact us today to take the first step toward academic success.

  11. This is really awesome and i got lot of knowledge about this. finally i found best blog for this topic and keep update here..
    i want more unique content about this and please keep doing...
    new jersey uncontested divorce papers

  12. Great Post
    Programming assignments can be challenging and time-consuming, but you don't have to do them alone. can provide a "Pay to do my programming assignment" service that can help you complete your work quickly and efficiently. The team of expert programmers will ensure that your work is completed to the highest standards.

  13. I just wanted to let you know that I am new to blogging and really enjoyed your post. Very certainly, I will bookmark your web article. You truly have wonderful post content. Thank you for exchanging the excellent domain post with us.
    bankruptcy lawyers near my location