SEF inspectors at Lisbon airport have thwarted yet another attempt at child trafficking through Portugal.
This time it was a man flying in from Guinea-Bissau in the company of a five-year-old girl he claimed was his daughter.
Suspicions that the child’s travel document had been forged were fairly rapidly confirmed and subsequent searches of the man’s luggage revealed birth certificates, residency papers, passports, a receipt for the sale of a French passport and “various bank transfer records”.
Under questioning the man admitted to having forged the document himself,
Reports do not explain the purpose of his flying with the child, en-route for Belgium, but Correio da Manhã writes that “inspectors believe the man will have bought the child for a quantity still to determine”.
Belgium meantime is a notorious destination for child-traffickers, many of them procuring children for sexual exploitation.
The man is now in preventive custody pending further investigation while the little girl is in a ‘safe house’ while a judge will be tasked with determining her future.
Was this child sold by her own parents, for example? Will authorities be able to work this out?
The multiple issues at play are compounded by Portugal’s relatively poor record when it comes to ‘rescuing’ these children. Three years ago, a report by the Council of Europe, showed that authorities ‘lose’ as many as half the children that come into their care (click here).
Europol also has been critical of Portugal’s strategy (click here).
But CM does suggest this particular child may well be put up for adoption, possibly because she is so young.