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June 25, 2022

Organised crime prosecutors start criminal prosecution following The Sun investigation

Prosecutors with Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) have ordered the commencement of a criminal investigation in rem related to allegations of trafficking of children mentioned in an investigation conducted by the British newspaper The Sun, which exposes the situation of a family in the Romanian northwestern town of Carei allegedly having had their children work even 13 hours a day making toys for an international chocolate confectionery producer.

In a press statement released on Wednesday, DIICOT says that the prosecutors ordered the prosecution in a case of trafficking of children after one day previously verifications had been started in the case. Building the case is the Satu Mare DIICOT Office.

The Sun talks about a Romanian family – mother, father, an 11-year old son and a 6-year-old daughter, making toys for Kinder eggs. The British journalists talk about “slave” workers who are paid 20 Romanian Lei for every 1,000 completed eggs they deliver to a factory in Carei near the border with Hungary.

Head of the Satu Mare General Social Assistance and Child Protection Directorate (DGASPC) Mariana Dragos said Tuesday that the children of Carei mentioned in The Sun investigation are not exploited; on the contrary, they attend school and have no absence.

“Preliminary fact finding verifications have revealed that The Sun report is not true. There is no labour exploitation of children here; on the contrary. According to the mother’s accounts, a journalist showed up accompanied by a translator pretending to be employees of the companies making those toys, allegedly to promote the toys among children. They were the ones to take the photos, guided by the journalist. At the same time, we checked whether or not the children attend school. These children have no absence; they go to school; they were at school when we visited there. So there is no way they work 13 hours a day, forced by their family. The mother is indeed a young disability pensioner who makes the toys in her free time, when the children are at school,” Dragos told Agerpres.

She added that DGASPC has to provide counseling to the family, because of the “emotional abuse” they had to withstand as a result of the image of their children having been carried by international media.

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