One element of the film “Slumdog Millionaire” dealt with the horrific use of children to fill the pockets of some rich pimp, gang lord. In the film, he actually has his goons mutilate some of the young children, who he then sends out to beg, knowing full well that disabled children elicit more sympathy and hence more money. He also pimped out young girls as prostitutes. That was the fate of the leading lady in the film. And although one can assume it was loosely based on fact, at the end of the day we could rest assured knowing it was just a movie.
But when you actually read about it in the news, it becomes even more horrific, because rather than fiction that might be based on some truth, this is reality in all its hideous glory.
Rather than India, however, these child traffickers and pimps are located in Romania, and rather than forcing the children to beg, steal, pickpocket and prostitute themselves in Romania, they shipped the kids over to England. The rest of the story, however, is sickeningly the same. The gang in Romania also disabled and mutilated some of the young kids before they were shipped off. It is estimated that 168 or so boys and girls from 7 to 15 were sent to the U.K. as prostitutes and beggars.
Just like the characters in the movie
..gang members believed that disabled children were more likely to evoke pity in passers-by – so they allegedly disabled their own children and those which they bought from extremely poor families to increase their earning potential.
According to the respected Romanian daily newspaper Adevarul, police sources said the case included the sick maiming of the children involved. Some had their legs and arms broken before being sent to the UK in the twisted version of Oliver Twist.
Some of the kids were apparently abducted while others were sold to the gang by their poor gypsy parents. So while the gang members sat around doing nothing, these poor children were out doing all the hard work and netting quite a load of money, it seems.
Romanian officials estimate that a pimp operating 15 girls can earn about £2.7million a year if their trade is prostitution and slightly less if they are pickpockets and thieves. But many operate in networks up to 50-strong.
And what did these reprobates do with all the cash they received from their little thieves and prostitutes: huge, ostentatious gypsy palaces.
Hopefully their pimping days are over, since police from both Britain and Romania finally tracked them down, at least the ones in Romania.
Yesterday 26 officers from the Metropolitan Police joined 300 Romanian officers for a series of dawn raids to arrest 17 men suspected of running the operation for the last four years.
Inside 34 fortified properties in Tandarei, a gang heartland in the south of the country, they found an incredible stash paid for by the children’s work.
A fearsome cache of weapons included AK-47 machine guns, high-powered hunting rifles and knives, pistols, gas bombs and rounds of ammunition including rubber bullets.
Enormous bundles of cash with hundreds of thousands of pounds in sterling, Euros and Romanian lei were found scattered around the rooms.
Officers also recovered luxury cars, jewels and hundreds of false British passports and fake documents from parents giving the gang members permission to look after the children.
Police acted after a tip-off about the huge sums of money flowing into the gipsy community in the impoverished village where massive homes called ‘gipsy palaces’ by locals, were being built.
Although a few of the children are back in Romania, there are still quite a few at large in the U.K. and authorities are trying to track them down. Like the children that are now safe at home who are being counselled, they too will need therapy, although after being mutilated and disabled, one has to wonder if therapy is going to help at all.
A Romanian police spokesman said: ‘The children were told their families would be at risk if they tried to flee, and families were told the children would be harmed if they made a complaint to authorities.’
Traffickers begun targeting the UK when Eastern European countries including Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU.
According to social workers who have rescued victims in Austria, some Roma communities punish families which refuse to rent their child to traffickers.
It always seem to be the poor children who suffer at the hands of lazy, money grubbing adults who care nothing about their health and welfare. Oftentimes it’s even their own offspring.