Page last updated at 17:40 GMT, Thursday, 22 October 2009 18:40 UK

Bulgaria arrests 'baby smugglers'

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Bulgarian police have arrested a couple suspected of trafficking pregnant women into Greece, where they gave birth and sold their babies for adoption.

About 10 women were involved and each child was sold for up to $12,000 (£7,200), police said in a statement.

The mothers were mostly Roma women who received about two-thirds of the payment, the statement said.

A series of child-trafficking rings have been uncovered by police in Bulgaria in recent years.

The Bulgarian couple, who are married, provided financial support for the pregnant women in Greek hospitals and hired local lawyers to organise the adoptions, police said.

Once the babies were born, fictitious names were made up for the fathers to get round international adoption laws.

Bulgarian police arrested the man as he was crossing the Greek border on Sunday, and his wife was arrested on Wednesday in the town of Nova Zagora, southern Bulgaria, officials said.

Tchavdar Bojourski, police chief in the southern region of Sliven, was quoted by the Bulgarian news agency Focus as saying that lawyers and judges were involved in the smuggling ring.

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