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The body of a Bulgarian girl has not been looked for from a hospital in Thessaloniki for six days already

28 January 2013 / 18:01:47  GRReporter
3339 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

For the sixth consecutive day, the dead body of an 11-year-old girl from Bulgaria remains in the morgue of "George Genimatas" hospital in Thessaloniki. The child died after a bus on the busy Langada Avenue hit her while she was riding a bicycle last Tuesday. Although the girl was taken to the hospital very quickly, she did not survive because of the many injuries to her body.

The 11-year-old girl was one of the dozens of "children at the traffic lights," who beg, sell various items or play musical instruments every day. People who are often not even their parents or relatives take them to and from their places of "work".

The neighbours say that the child was living in a house with 10 other adults and children. After the tragic accident, they left the "house," which was not very suitable to accommodate so many people.

According to reports in the Greek media, a few days after the tragedy, a woman who claimed to be the girl’s grandmother came looking for her. The hospital, however, refused to deliver the child's body, because the woman did not have a custody document.

Well-informed sources told GRReporter exclusively that the woman was actually the grandmother of the child, but she presented only the girl’s passport and a declaration that she was allowed to travel abroad. It turned out later that the child's passport was fake as it contained the data of another child who is alive and living in Bulgaria.

The police and the consulate of Bulgaria in Thessaloniki have been informed about the case. The Greek state has already sent through Interpol photographs and fingerprints of the child to establish her identity.

The sources we spoke to stated that the authorities in Bulgaria have found the biological father, but he does not appear on the birth certificate of the child and so he has no rights over her. The mother’s traces have been lost in other European countries and her whereabouts have not been known since 2010.

The story of the famous film by Bosnian director Emir Kusturica "Time of the Gypsies" is becoming the destiny of an increasing number of children as stated by "The Smile of the Child" organization, which protects children.

"Every day, dozens of citizens call to inform us of children who beg, clean car windows, sell different things or are just all alone on the street. These children are often alone but in other cases someone accompanies them. In recent years, this phenomenon has gained immense proportions," said the social worker of the organization Stella Zografou.

She points out that the majority of the children these days are of Greek and Bulgarian origin, whereas a few years ago, most of them were from Albania.

"We know from our conversations with these children that, unfortunately, they have been taught to live this way: to be on the street and to beg. In many cases, they are scared because they do not know what will happen after the police and judicial authorities intervene. The communication with children from other countries is more difficult because of the language factor. But when they find out that we want to help them, they accept our attention."

According to the social worker, the children who live on the street "do not speak easily. Perhaps out of fear, they do not say much about how they have come into the country. It also happens that they lie, again out of fear, because the things they have experienced are certainly not pleasant."

The organization urges the public not to give alms to these children, because this only increases the problem. "We believe that if everyone stopped giving them money those forcing the children to beg would not benefit and would stop using them."

Tags: SocietyCrime newsBegging childrenHospitalThessaloniki
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