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After giving birth, they heard that the baby had died. The journalist revealed the huge scale of child trafficking in Georgia

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Even hundreds of thousands of children in Georgia were victims of human trafficking – according to an investigation conducted by a local journalist. Doctors, nurses, but also high-ranking officials were allegedly involved in the practice, which lasted for decades. The TVN24 BiS journalist reached people who were victims of child trafficking and now are trying to find out the truth about themselves, but also about Georgia.

For many mothers in Georgia, a successful birth was the beginning of a tragic story. – We don’t know how it all started, but we know that a huge number of children were sold in Georgia, says Tamuna Museridze, a Georgian journalist.

For recent years, Tamuna has been investigating the scale of child trafficking in Georgia. BBC journalists became interested in her investigation. The basis of the story was the story of twin girls who were taken from their biological mother and sold to two different families. The women found each other after 19 years, thanks to a recording on social media. They also managed to reach the biological mother. Their story had a happy ending and Tamuna is also waiting for the same ending. – I am a child who was sold and illegally adopted – confesses the journalist.

Read also: Journalists recorded a hospital employee trying to sell a child – a patient of this facility

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The woman started a Facebook group for people with a similar story. The journalist thought that the problem concerned only a small part of society, but the number of people began to increase and Tamuna started an investigation. The first case involved a man who knew exactly who had taken him from his biological mother.

– We went to this doctor. She told us that her daughter-in-law was lying in the delivery room. She helped her give birth to a boy, then took him away and told her the baby had died, but in fact she had sold him in another region of Georgia. The doctor gave us the details of the biological mother and we found her. She screamed at us, she didn’t want to believe that her mother-in-law could do something like that to her. After a month, she agreed to take a DNA test. The result was obvious: her and this man’s genetic codes matched, says Tamuna.

Villanova Canavese. A newborn baby was found in one of the garbage cansGoogle Earth

“We started looking for these cemeteries”

Subsequent stories made the journalist realize that she had discovered a systemic black market for child trafficking in Georgia. Her findings show that from the 1950s to 2006, hundreds of thousands of women went through the same thing – after giving birth, they heard that the child had died and was buried in the hospital cemetery.

– We started looking for these cemeteries, but they were nowhere to be found, and neither were the bodies of these children – says Tamuna.

Practically the entire country was allegedly involved in the practice – from taxi drivers to high-ranking politicians in the government. Corrupt officials forged documents needed for illegal adoptions. – People didn’t believe us, but after the BBC report and all these interviews, the public believed us. Now they are helping us, collecting funds to purchase DNA tests for those who are looking for them, says the journalist.

To see how much impact this story has on the country, just look at the numbers – on Tamuna’s group alone, over 200,000 people are looking for loved ones, and just over three and a half million people live in Georgia. It is a trauma for a large part of society, but also a threat – there is a risk that brothers and sisters have unknowingly entered into marriages.

– We have a story of a woman who took a test, found her mother and it turned out that her husband came from the same family and was her close relative. She was shocked. She didn’t tell her husband the truth because they already had three children and she didn’t want to ruin her life. She couldn’t change anything, says Tamuna.

Irena Dawid-Olczyk about human trafficking

Irena Dawid-Olczyk about human traffickingTVN24

The newborns were also supposed to be sold abroad

The case does not only concern children in Georgia. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and Georgia’s declaration of independence, newborns began to be sold abroad. This happened, among others, to Panagiotis Souroukli, who lives in Cyprus. – I would like to meet my biological parents and tell them that I am still alive – confesses the man.

See also: The nuns were supposed to sell the pupils. New reportage of “Superwizjer” TVN

The man thought his parents gave him up for adoption because they were poor, but when he started looking for them, it turned out that the people listed on his birth certificate as his mother and father had never lived in Georgia. Therefore, he asked the authorities in Tblisi to reveal the truth and even provided evidence. His case is being investigated, but the man acts on his own because he does not trust Georgian politicians.

– The Georgian government has already sold us out once in the past and continues to do so because it is trying to hide criminals. They try to protect themselves and hide the truth. They mostly tell lies and don’t try to fix anything, says Souroukli.

Georgian authorities say the investigation into child trafficking is still ongoing. In turn, Tamuna announces a fight in the courts together with human rights lawyers in order to learn more about this dark chapter in the country’s history.

Author:Hubert Kijek

Facts about the World TVN24 BiS

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