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Cablegate: Update On Baby Trafficking Network

VZCZCXRO3705
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #2562/01 3581540
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231540Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1225
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEAHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUCNFB/FBI WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 002562

DEPT FOR CA/FPP, CA/EX, CA/OCS, DS/CR/OCI
ALSO FOR G/TIP, INL, DRL, PRM, NEA/RA, NEA/ELA, NEA/PPD

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

POSTS FOR FRAUD PREVENTION UNITS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFRD CVISCMGTCASCKOCIASECPHUMSMIGKIRF KPAO EG

SUBJECT: UPDATE ON BABY TRAFFICKING NETWORK

REFS: (A) CAIRO 2483 (B) CAIRO 2550 (C) CAIRO 2552

1. (SBU) Summary: This cable updates ref (A) which reported
ongoing investigation into child trafficking in Egypt. Another
Egyptian doctor and couple have been arrested by Egyptian State
Security Investigative Services (SSIS) for their involvement in the
baby trafficking network uncovered by the Cairo Fraud Prevention
Unit (FPU). The recent arrests by SSIS have revealed that many more
babies may have been trafficked by this network over at least the
last six years. The review by the Fraud Prevention Manager (FPM)
and A/RSO-I of past American Citizen Services (ACS) cases for
Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA) takes into account the
possibility that this baby trafficking network may have been in
operation for as long as 20 years. In addition, the FPM and A/RSO-I
have uncovered at least three cases of children who may have
fraudulently obtained U.S. citizenship and are now adolescents or
teenagers growing up as American citizens. End Summary.

The Arrests
-----------

2. (SBU) The latest arrests by SSIS involve a doctor who admitted
to falsifying more than 500 letters for couples stating he had
personally delivered infants in his clinic. The clinic was
subsequently closed by SSIS. In addition, the doctor admitted to
receiving anywhere between 10 Egyptian pounds (LE) to 1000 LE (USD 2
- 200) for each fraudulent letter. SSIS has also arrested an
American woman and her Egyptian husband who had appeared at the ACS
unit in October attempting to document a newborn as their natural
child. At the time, the couple fit the profile of past cases
described in reftel and processing was suspended. When SSIS
recently arrested the couple, they immediately asked for a lawyer
and have refused to cooperate. The lawyer is the same one requested
by another couple and is well known in Egypt as a vocal, sometimes
provocative, advocate of the Coptic community. To date, SSIS has
arrested a total of eight individuals involved in this baby
trafficking network and is searching for another two doctors. The
ACS unit has reported the arrests of the Amcits (see refs B and C)
and will be following up with a visit by a consular officer.

The Rescues
-----------

3. (SBU) SSIS has reportedly rescued four babies that had been
bought by individuals who were attempting to leave Egypt with them
falsely documented as American citizens. In all of the cases except
one, the individuals have been arrested. In one case, the couple,
both American citizens, have returned to the United States leaving
the baby in the care of another individual to whom they paid 3000 LE
(USD 600). This individual, an Egyptian national, has been detained
and questioned by SSIS. She admitted to having accompanied the
Amcit couple to the house of a Coptic nun and having witnessed a
payment of money for the newborn. SSIS is trying to determine
whether this nun and the one described in reftel are the same
individual. The individual has also implicated a Ministry of Health
official who she claims facilitated the issuance of false birth
certificates.

Where are the children?
-----------------------

4. (SBU) An exhaustive review of ACS historical files has
identified more than a dozen cases of suspected related fraud
stretching back as far as 1989. These past cases have been flagged
as possible fraud with processing at ACS Cairo suspended if the
application is still pending. However, extensive searches by the
FPM and A/RSO-I of the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) have
identified some cases where the Amcit parents appear to have
documented the child at another U.S. consulate and brought him or
her to the United States. In three cases the children are now
either adolescents or teenagers living in the United States with
their "parents." DS investigations have been opened on these U.S.
cases. With regards to the possibility that hundreds of other
babies were bought, and then later obtained fraudulent valid
Egyptian birth certificates, SSIS is still questioning the arrested
individuals. The cases that FPU has uncovered in ACS have all
indicated that the babies were being bought by childless Coptic
couples, at least one of whom was an American citizen.

Suggested Press Guidance
------------------------

CAIRO 00002562 002 OF 002

5. (SBU) Post recommends that responses to media inquiries be
limited to the following:

We do not comment on ongoing investigations.


Comment
-------

6. (SBU) Due to the apparent largely Coptic involvement in these
cases, the inevitable press coverage may well take a sectarian
slant. A brief story regarding the investigation appeared in a
limited circulation independent newspaper on December 21, and we
expect more to follow. Given Egypt's already highly-charged
sectarian environment, and the occasional accusations that the U.S.
and other Western Embassies see themselves as "protectors" of the
Coptic minority, this case may elicit strong reactions from the
Egyptian media and public.

7. (SBU) To add fuel to the possible fire, the arrested Coptic nun
has reportedly told SSIS that she was bringing the babies into the
Coptic Church by selling them to Coptic couples, implying that some
of the babies may have been non-Christian. In Egypt, there are few
issues more provocative than religious conversion, and some will
undoubtedly view the adoption of a Muslim child by a Christian
couple as akin to forced religious conversion.

8. (SBU) The case has high-level attention from the Ministry of
Interior. Post will continue to closely coordinate with the GOE,
and to report on developments both in the investigation and in the
political, media and public reaction to the case.

SCOBEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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