French couple bought smuggled baby for €8000 and a used BMW

The story has emerged as a group accused of human trafficking go on trial in Marseille

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A family in Marseille who gave €8000 (£5819) and a used BMW in exchange for a new-born baby from Romania have claimed that they didn’t think they “had done anything wrong.”

Carmen and Mike Gorgan, aged 27 and 28, bought the child in 2013 after efforts at conception had been unsuccessful for more than ten years and claim that they situation had been beneficial for everyone involved.

The story of the couple has emerged as ten people went on trial on Tuesday suspected of being part of a human trafficking ring.

35-year-old Romanian man Ilie Ionita is said to be at the centre along with his three sisters Valeriu Rosu, 42, Florian Stan, 33, and Florin Coman, 25.

Anti-slavery activists demonstrated in London against trafficking

All face up to 10 years in prison and combined fines equivalent of up to £1million. They deny charges against them, saying the babies were “a gift.”

The people smuggling ring is understood to have been implicated in several similar cases and at least three other cases of babies being sold were tracked down.

A network is believed to have been in operation in the southern city as smugglers brought pregnant Romanian women across the border to give birth in France.

They then gave the baby up for “adoption” afterwards, usually for around €10,000.

Police were originally tipped off by midwives after they noticed suspicious behaviour in their maternity ward after a young mother was left in tears after giving birth, whilst a young couple, believed to be the Gorgons, hardly left her bedside.

Mr and Mrs Gorgan told French Channel BFM.TV: “We didn’t think that we had done anything wrong. We saved a baby from poverty.

“As far as we know, this baby may have died if it wasn’t for us.”

They now face fines of up to €30,000 (£21,822) and could potentially face two years in prison for “complicity in human trafficking.”

Their lawyer Patrick Gontart said that the couple had “fallen into the trap of many European couples. These are good people who are now unhappy because their child has been placed in a home.”

The child, who is now 22 months old and lives in foster care, is understood to have been the seventh child born to a Romanian family who did not have the financial resources for its upbringing.

In the UK The Modern Slavery Bill, published last month, will enable human traffickers convicted of the most serious offences to be jailed for life if passed.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: "It will send the strongest possible signal to criminals that if you are involved in this disgusting trade you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted, and you will be locked up."