CBS News) -- Authorities in Greece are making an international appeal as they try to identify a young girl found in a raid at a Gypsy camp last week. They fear she could be the victim of child trafficking.
The girl answers to the name of Maria, is thought to be 4 years old, and is now being cared for by social services in Greece.
It was the girl’s looks that were the first clue. She has blonde hair and blue eyes, which alerted an official that she did not belong. She did not have the typical Gypsy dark hair and dark eyes.
The little girl was spotted in a Gypsy community in the central Greek region of Larissa when police arrived to investigate another issue.
DNA tests proved the girl did not come from the same family as the one she was living with and members of the group are now arguing the child had been “given” to the family for care and that she had been treated well.
Others have taken a dimmer view and believed that she was stolen for resale, or perhaps that she had some other value, such as a blonde child is good for street begging.
A family home video shown to reporters apparently confirms the child has been with the group for some time. In the video she appears to be about 2-years-old.
A charity has published a poster image of the girl and says it’s received thousands of calls from around the world, including four calls it called “promising” from the United States.
“It shows that it could be kidnapping and combined effort of these people to buy and sell children, and when you have a good commodity like this one, they try to find a better price,” said Kostas Yannopoulos, President of Smile of the Child.
A man and a woman were arrested and taken from the Gypsy community. They are appearing in court today charged with abducting a minor.
Their lawyer, Kostas Katsavos, said they will offer a defense.
“Our clients’ claim is that ‘we never abducted this child, we just adopted’, in a way non-legal,” said Katsavos.
A lot happens in Gypsy communities that is off the books, but this case has raised the hopes of a lot of families of children who have disappeared. One may be lucky, but for the others it may simply open some terrible wounds.