Four raids in investigation into trade in Congolese orphans

THU 01/12/2016 11:40

date of the article Thu 12/01/2016

Floor Bruggeman – Update – Thu 01/12/2016 16:02

In an investigation into the trade in Congolese orphans the Federal Police this morning carried out four raids, three in Brussels and one in Liege. Earlier in the investigation, a woman was taken into custody. She is seen as the key figure.

Last month, the federal prosecutor claimed eight search warrants in Namur, Dinant and Brussels. Eight people were then taken for an interrogation, a Belgian-Congolese woman was eventually arrested. She was under suspicion of hostage taking, human trafficking, forgery and use of false documents. That the persons taken hostage were minors and the trafficking concerned minors, were thereby aggravating circumstances.

11 adoptions, three out of order

Concretely it concerns the eleven children who were adopted by Belgian couples in November 2015 from Congo. The adoption went through an orphanage in Congo, which was run by the Belgian-Congolese woman. She started at a particular time to ask the parents for large sums, in exchange for the children. Foreign Affairs in our country has filed a complaint against the woman for kidnapping.

Because of the complaint of Foreign Affairs the federal prosecutor then started an investigation. The eleven children meanwhile made it into our country, but now it appears that at least three of them could not be adopted. Apparently, the children were reported as missing in Congo. The woman who was arrested is now suspected of kidnapping the children.

Raid on cabinet PS politician

One of the raids this morning took place at the office of the PS politician Madrane Rachid, Minister of Youth in the French Community Government. The investigators suspect that some government employees were aware that something was not right with the adoption of the three children. The woman who has been arrested, has also worked for the French community.

The Belgian adoptive parents of the three children have been informed, but it is not yet clear what is going to happen to the children.

Tip of the iceberg?

The federal prosecutor fears that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The woman has arranged a total of 60 adoptions and worked at the right cabinets. The question now is whether all her adoptions completely went by the book.