German citizen suspect in the Maramures white slavery case detained. The children’s testimonies

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One of the German citizens suspected in the white slavery case in Maramures has been detained by the Police today. Germany’s Embassy to Romania has been notified about this case. The allegedly trafficked children will benefit of social assistance till they are taken over by their parents.

Another three people have been previously taken into custody in this case.

The children’s testimonies

The children heard so far in this file told investigators how they were forced into labour and compelled to carry stones and wood, how they used to be locked in the punishment room, or how the plates were taken away from the table if they did not eat quickly enough.

One of the youngsters recounted that he could not tell anyone what was happening in the Projekt Maramures centre as phones had been banned out there and they were not allowed to get in contact to their families in the first four months. When they eventually managed to talk to their families, the kids were strictly monitored and could not reveal what they had to endure in the centre.

A young boy who tried to flee was forced to work hard and, as a punishment, he was locked up in the detention room that was 5-minute walk from the centre.

Children were not allowed to use the toilets in the detention room unless they knocked at the door and the supervisor allowed them to.

As for the works the youngsters had to do, they said their working programme would start at 8 a.m. and ended at 6 p.m., whilst they were forced to carry stones, concrete or wood.

Another boy told prosecutors he had been kicked several times without reason and he had to stay in the isolation for three weeks for saying he could not work anymore because he was too tired. The supervisors reportedly hit the boy until he had a nosebleed.

Moreover, testimonies revealed that the carers used to take the plates with food from the table if the children did not eat quickly enough. Despite that, the kids were constantly admonished for being too thin and they might look like being ill-treated.

Labour minister Marius Budai said the families of the children included in the Projekt Maramures are on their way to Romania. Moreover, the minister announced he had sent its Control Body to Maramures County Agency for Payments and Social Inspection, the local body that granted the operating permit to the Maramures programme.

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