Allegations of Baby Trafficking Hit Spain
Last week an organisation called ANADIR filed a petition, signed by 260 people, to Spain's Attorney General demanding an investigation on the alleged baby-trafficking that took place in Spain throughout the Franco years and into the mid-90s.
ANADIR asserts that for decades in Spain newborn babies were systematically stolen from their mothers and sold for large sums of money to couples looking to adopt, and is implicating a nationwide network, which involved doctors, nurses, midwives, nuns and other intermediaries.
ANADIR's 41-yr-old president, Antonio Barroso, says he only discovered three years ago that the couple who raised him were not his biological parents, and that he was sold at birth into his adoptive family for 200,000 pesetas.
The custom of baby snatching is thought to go back to Spain's 1936-39 civil war, when babies and children were taken away from families who opposed Franco's new regime. But ANADIR claim that this politically motivated practice later transformed into a moneymaking scheme that outlasted Spain's return to democracy in 1978.
One person who believes she was the victim of Spain's baby trafficking is Linda Merrill, a 48-yr-old American who gave birth to a son in 1982 in Madrid. She was told the baby was stillborn, but has suspected her whole life the child was sold to another family. She claims that the hospital doctors would not let her see her son's corpse, and only after her mother-in-law threatened to report the clinic to police did nurses produce a wrapped-up baby's body, which Merrill claims bore little resemblance to the child she had recently given birth to.
ANADIR's lawyer said that they expect to hear within a month whether the Attorney General will order an enquiry into baby trafficking in Spain.