Two Bulgarian mothers suspected of selling their new-born babies in Portugal apparently spent their time begging in the centre of the country in the period leading up to the births.
Both babies were female. One of the children was born in the maternity unit of Viseu Hospital in May – the other was born in Coimbra. The women apparently entered Portugal while they were both pregnant. They were spotted begging on street corners and in church doors in both Coimbra and Viseu, always poorly dressed and with other children at their side. When they went into labour, they entered hospital and avoided speaking, apparently acting as if they were deaf mutes so as not to reveal information that might make people suspect that the identities they claimed (namely those of the future adoptive mothers) were untrue.
At first, the authorities believed that the women were part of a criminal organisation, but police have now discounted this theory. The women simply received payments in the region of 10,000 euros in exchange for handing their babies over soon after birth. The little girl who was born in Viseu has now been handed into the care of the Social Services. But a decision on the fate of the other baby has not yet been taken – she is currently living with her ‘adopted’ parents, in the south of the country. The investigation started at the end of May after health professionals raised suspicions over the Bulgarian mothers’ intentions towards their new-born children.