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Traffic, sale and theft of children

Want to buy a child? It is much easier than you might think. Generally, the law prohibits the sale of children, there are severe penalties provided for in the Criminal Code. However, this is merely the façade of law. The current Family Code makes the sale of children an extremely easy task.

You simply need to contact a law firm or a nonprofit organization that provides such "service". With the help of medical professionals, they will get you into contact with an unmarried woman who has an unwanted pregnancy and material difficulties. If you are a family – the husband recognizes the child as his own, possibly even before birth. One only needs to sign a piece of paper. A month after the birth the mother consents to an adoption and the wife of the person who recognized the child becomes their legal mother. And the money - not too big a sum - a few thousand levs.

Could someone spoil the deal - yes, if the biological father knows about the child and wants to take care of him. As it is according to the Constitution and public morality. But the legislator has taken care of that. After all, businesses should be encouraged.

The Family Code adopted in 2009 has made it impossible to challenge the performed recognition in court to everyone but the mother and the person who recognized the child – i.e. the potential parties to a transaction for the sale of a child. The child's right to dispute after turning 14 plays no role in this case. Neither the Prosecution, nor Social services, nor persons with a legitimate interest (biological parent or their successors) may challenge the acknowledgment and undo the sale. Brilliant legislative move.

At the end of 2010, following a signal to the Prime Minister, the National Assembly restored the right of the Prosecution and Social Services to challenge performed recognition. The right of third parties with a legitimate interest has not been restored. At first glance, one might think that the problem has been solved. But it has not. The law still remains a façade behind which there is selective justice and a perfect environment for corruption.

Imagine you were the father of a child sold through the described scheme. You cannot dispute the recognition made by the purchaser. You can alert the Prosecution and Social Services. However, they are not entitled by law to protect your personal interest.

Social services have the right and duty to protect the interests of the child. If we look at the interest of the child from the perspective of the Convention on the Rights of the Child - they should be initiated and they should challenge at every signal of unlawful recognition because the child has the right to be raised by their parents. But in Bulgaria they will just check whether the person who has performed the recognition is capable of taking care of the child. If they are - there is no problem. If one cannot compete financially with this person, it may be possible, through corrupt activities, to convince Social services to go to court ... but no one knows what the final outcome will be.

And also, what does ‘father’ mean under the law – that is the husband of the mother. If there is no marriage - it is not clear what ‘father’ means. That is, when we talk about rights, of course. When we talk about duties, i.e. when someone does not want to perform their parental duties and must be sued for maintenance - then it is clear who the father is, and that is the biological father. But rights and obligations – those are two very different things in our country.

You can contact the Prosecutor's Office. And it does not have the right to defend your personal interests. But it can protect the public interest and, with a motive to circumvent adoption procedures, bring an action to challenge the recognition. It is not clear what exactly the criteria for making this decision are, the Prosecution will probably challenge if they find you amiable or if you are "solvent" or "our man" ... But even if it comes to trial proceedings, you cannot be a party to it. This means the following:

You cannot make yourself familiar with the case, you cannot submit evidence, you cannot participate in the proceedings, you cannot make claims and objections, and you cannot appeal decisions of the courts when your rights and interests are infringed. And if the prosecutor decides to withdraw the claim you are unable to continue the case. It simply terminates. You cannot even attend as a trial spectator because such trials are closed to the public. A perfect environment for corruption.

In short - if you are not "our man" – the result of the case is clear in advance, you do not stand a chance.

What does all this mean - nothing has changed since the amendment of the Act of 2010. Your child will be sold by the mother and stolen from you and the legislator again took care not to interfere with the "business".

Everyone that can solve or help solve this problem has been made aware of it. Nobody wanted to fulfill their obligations. Apparently the sale of children is quite a profitable business and no one dares to encroach upon the good commissions of lawyers and organizations that are "working" in the field.

It was necessary to transfer the dispute between us and the state on a European level. We expect results in the near future.