Child poverty is on the rise in Greece since 2008 and the crisis outbreak, while the average family income went 14 years back, in 1998 levels. The alarming figures emerged from a Unicef report entitled “Children of the Recession.”
Child poverty in Greece has increased from 23% in 2008 to 40.5% in 2012, while the age group from 15 to 24 is the most affected by the crisis. The percentage of youth who do not study, work or follow a program of technical training in the country has increased to 20.6% in 2012 from 11.7% in 2008.
The report shows that 2,6 million children have sunk below the poverty line in the world’s most affluent countries since 2008, bringing the total number of children in the developed world living in poverty to an estimated 76,5 million.
Since 2008, child poverty has increased in 23 out of the 41 countries analyzed. In Ireland, Croatia, Latvia, Greece and Iceland, rates went up by around 50%. In the United States, where extreme child poverty has increased more in this downturn than during the 1982 recession, social safety net measures provided important support to poor working families but were less effective for the extreme poor without jobs. Child poverty has increased in 34 out of 50 states since the crisis started. In 2012, 24,2 million children were living in poverty, a net increase of 1,7 million from 2008. Child poverty actually fell in 18 countries, markedly in some cases. Australia, Chile, Finland, Norway, Poland and the Slovak Republic reduced levels by around 30%.
“The absence of a bold strategic response by the Member States could have a negative impact in the long term for societies,” Unicef concluded, warning for the possibility of a slowdown in population growth as younger people avoid creating their own families due to their worsening financial state.
Meanwhile Greece is currently ideal for infant trade, with traffickers charging between 7,000 and 20,000 euros to secure a baby for couples who have failed to have a child of their own.
Many factors determine the price of an infant – the speed of delivery, for instance, or the race of the infant. If a baby has brown hair its price drops. Fair-skinned babies with blonde hair tend to be more expensive. If a baby is “available for purchase” it is more expensive. Another important factor is the age of the infant. Most babies are sold three to five days after birth. They cannot be sold after they are more than one month old.
Infant traffickers charge more if the couple demands being able to select their newborn out of a group. Traffickers also try not to let the couple meet the birth mother, especially if she is a Roma or comes from countries such as Bulgaria. In fact, in several cases traffickers have presented a woman from Russia as the birth mother, so that perspective buyers have the impression that the child will grow up to be tall and blonde.
In addition, the deliveries usually take place outside of private clinics so that buyers are under the impression that the newborn belongs to a wealthy family and will therefore be healthy.
Most circuits are controlled by Bulgarian nationals, who find pregnant women in their country of origin and transfer them to Greece for childbirth. In fact, they usually convince women to become pregnant and sell the infant for at least 3,000 euros.
Many Greek lawyers and notaries work as accomplices to these circuits and manage their paperwork. The birth mother signs a form to authorize a lawyer to attend court in her place in order to ratify the adoption. Consensual adoption is legal provided that there is no money involved. Otherwise it is prosecuted as a felony.