) of a pregnant woman with the purpose of selling the newborn is imprisonment of three to 15 years.
If the act is committed on behalf of an organised criminal group, the minimum term is five years and the perpetrator’s property can be confiscated.
The traffickers here are mostly Roma men and women who lived for many years among ethnic kin in Greece and have good contacts.
A ready market awaits them across the southern border in Greece where often childless couples are willing to pay to bypass a state adoption system which can leave them waiting seven or eight years.
Greece, unlike Bulgaria, permits private adoptions and thus makes this kind of deal easier.
The road routes south to Greece are easy and well-worn.
Traffickers drive the pregnant women across the inner-EU border without passport checks, and if guards do ask the purpose of their trip, they usually cite seasonal agricultural work.
Four out of five babies up for sale were boys.“It’s not just that the parents want to have a boy, boys are more expensive and therefore the criminal rings prefer them too,” said an officer from the Greek police anti-trafficking unit who declined to be named as he takes part in undercover operations.