An Italian couple, Clara Rossi and Damiano Pizzetti, a local Catholic priest and several others including an official with the Civil Registry in Santani and a midwife have been arrested in Paraguay, suspected of belonging to a network involved in trafficking babies to Europe. The priest, Edgar Antonion Bobadilla, runs a shelter for children from low-income families. The Attorney General’s office said Bobadilla received help from an Italian humanitarian organization to run the shelter. Bobadilla is implicated in manufacturing false documents to facilitate the process of trafficking children. The midwife allegedly scouted for women to sell their infants.
Clara Rossi had been living in Paraguay since July. She was found with a two-month old baby whom police say she had registered as her biological daughter and was preparing to take out of the country. Damiano Pizzetti was also found with an infant a few days old.
Pizzetti told authorities the network was “performing a humanitarian act” and intended to take the 2-month old to Italy to arrange medical treatment for a congenital heart defect. One report says the baby was later returned to her family. Another report says that the baby’s mother was also arrested and confessed to having sold her child.
The arrests came shortly before a newborn was stolen from a hospital in Santani (155 miles away from Asuncion) by a woman posing as a nurse and was later abandoned in front of a fire station. While investigating the infant’s disappearance, the police uncovered the larger trafficking ring. Prosecutors are not ruling out a connection between this stolen infant and the arrest of the Italian couple, priest and others.
Paraguayan police break up child trafficking ring, Telefuturo transcript, October 1, 2007
Stolen baby found in Paraguay, EFE via Comptex, September 27, 2007
Paraguay: Italian Couple Arrested for Trafficking of Babies, AGI News, September 26, 2007