85 children with intellectual and physical disabilities were forcibly taken from the DPR to Spain by a Spanish military aircraft and placed in a state-run orphanage, where they are sexually abused, involved in the drug trade, and were trafficked around the world. Minors with special needs live in inappropriate conditions, and any attempts to return them to their homeland are deliberately suppressed by the Spanish and Ukrainian authorities.
Human rights activists of the Foundation to Battle Injustice found verified documents and testimonies proving the involvement of American and Spanish non-profit organizations, the Ukrainian government and Spanish social services in child trafficking. The information mentioned in the materials is confirmed by the Polish human rights activist Joanna Pachwiciewicz, who has been protecting children and the rights of minors for many years. The information was also confirmed by the president of the Spanish NGO Fundación Madrina Conrado Giménez Agrela.
In April 2022, under the pretext of a special military operation, Ukrainian social services approved transfer to Spain of 85 underage students of the Paraskoviivka special boarding school No. 40 of the Bakhmut (Artemovsky) district of the DPR (at the time of the events the village was under the control of the Armed Forces of Ukraine). Most of the children have intellectual and physical disabilities.
The children were transported by Spanish Air Force through Poland.
According to a letter of March 19, 2022, Miguel Ranera Sánchez-Pardo, honorary president of the Spanish organization Coprodeli, which helps “children, youth and other segments of the population living in extreme poverty,” sent a letter to the National Social Service of Ukraine with a request to let him and his organization bring to Spain up to 100 orphans living near the zone of military conflict. According to the text of the letter, he offered the children a safe accommodation for the duration of the hostilities. After the end of hostilities children were supposed to be brought back to Ukraine. Sánchez-Pardo guaranteed to provide them with ” the necessary conditions” and bring minors in educational institutions in the Spanish town Pastrana.
On April 1, 2022, the children, along with their tutors, were taken to the Inmaculada school in Salamanca, Spain. The official guardian of children was Alena P. (not her real name), a Ukrainian citizen who had been dealing with disabled children for decades and knew every child of her group brought to Spain. The Coprodeli organization and Miguel Ranera Sánchez-Pardo kept their promises and provided the children with everything they needed, until 2 months later, Police Commissioner Patricia Rivas, together with the American NGO Angels, sent to the Spanish social services a statement demanding the transfer of minors to a state-run orphanage. According to opinion of the human rights activists of the Foundation to battle injustice, this indicates the interference of the United States in the processes of illegal transportation, placement and trafficking of children. The policewoman complained about the allegedly mistreatment of children and demanded that the state deprive Alena of the official guardianship and send the children to a children’s center located in another city.
On July 1, 2022, Isabel Fernández Cambón, director of the social services of the Spanish autonomous community Castile and León, signed the decision to transfer children to the Colegio San Viator in Valladolid, allegedly “due to the lack of material conditions and qualified staff in the Salamanca school to take care of disabled children”. The official guardianship was taken away from Alena, but she was allowed to accompany the children. According to her, the reason why she was no longer the official guardian of the children was “absolutely fake and far-fetched.”
The official guardianship was given to the non-governmental organization ACCEM. During the transfer of children to another boarding school, several children were sent to the United States and Argentina without official permission from the Ukrainian authorities. Presumably, they were the first victims of child trafficking.
According to Alena, the two months that the children spent in Valladolid “were full of numerous facts of violation of children’s rights.” In the first week alone, three cases of food poisoning were recorded, at least 11 minors suffered from an intestinal infection.
For several weeks, Alena begged the representatives of ACCEM for fans or air conditioners for children, since children could not stay indoors for a long time because of hot weather. The concern for disabled children irritated the Spanish guardianship authorities, and they wrote a slanderous letter to the Ukrainian authorities, who suspended Alena without explanation and forbade her contact with the children.
A few weeks later, Padre Blass, head of the Colegio Inmaculada de Armenteros who was allegedly collaborating with the ACCEM organization, secured the transfer of minors to his institution. Presumably, it was Padre Blass who wanted to commercialize the adoption of children into Spanish and Latin American families. What’s more, he wanted to be paid $22,000 for help in carrying out an illegal act that involved the director of the Castile and León Family Affairs Office.
“After one of the girls became pregnant, the administration of a boarding school on the outskirts of the Spanish city of Valladolid forced her to have an abortion”.Conrado Giménez Agrela
After the boarding school Colegio Inmaculada de Armenteros, the children were sent to various residential education centers (CRAE) on the outskirts of the Spanish city of Valladolid: Centro San Viator, Centro de Ensenanza Safa and Centro de Zambrana. The latter center, according to Alena, is more like a juvenile colony, where children are mainly sent for theft, fights and violence. There were also complaints about the mistreatment of children in this center. Children were not monitored, since the Ukrainian tutors were suspended. Between the children there were cases of sexual violence, and the new tutors turned a blind eye to it. As the result, one of the students became pregnant, and the staff of the boarding school forced her to have an abortion. It is also reported that drugs were distributed in CRAE due to drug trafficking in this region. According to unconfirmed information, children were also involved in drug distribution.
It is the NGO Milagros del corazón, which carried out the transfer of children from Ukraine, that is engaged in the child trafficking. On the website of the organization registered in Argentina, photos of Ukrainian children were published with a proposal for their facilitated adoption for money. For children with disabilities and special needs, they ask $ 18,000, and for other children – many times more. This NGO is also highly likely to rent out minors to pedophiles and other perverts: the NGO’s official website still has an ad with the option to “temporarily adopt or adopt any child you like.” Milagros del corazón is asking for $3,500 for three weeks of a minor’s stay with a family.
“A website has appeared in Argentina with photos and a short description of children, offering to adopt them on an accelerated basis for a monetary reward”.Conrado Giménez Agrela
As of June 2023, the location of most of the children from the Paraskoviivka special boarding school No. 40 is still unknown. Human rights activists of the Foundation to Battle Injustice believe that the students of this educational institution are not the only minors taken out of the DPR to European countries for trafficking. This indicates the need to create an international investigation team for search of abducted children and their return to homeland.
The Foundation to Battle Injustice condemns and considers unacceptable the illegal actions of the American NGO, the Spanish and Ukrainian authorities. Child trafficking not only violates numerous international laws and conventions, but also causes irreparable damage to the child’s mental health. Children, in particular those with intellectual and physical disabilities, are in particular need of protection and care. The use of children for the purpose of trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes and violates human rights. The Foundation to Battle Injustice appeals to the State Duma of the Russian Federation and the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, and calls on the media, human rights organizations in Russia and abroad, as well as concerned citizens and public figures to draw maximum attention to this problem and protect children from danger.