Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WikiLeaks Reveals Details About Investigation Into Egyptian Baby Smuggling Ring

By Jerry Smith Feb 23 2011

Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal details about the investigation into an Egyptian baby smuggling ring.

The cables also reveal that Coptic Christian priests and nuns acted as baby brokers and used falsified birth registration papers to get the children to the United States.

The cables say:
"On July 6, 2009, a visiting team from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrived in Cairo specifically to begin an investigation of the baby-smuggling network with regards to Canada. Further close cooperation with the RCMP will be important in identifying cases that may have used Canada as a means to enter the United States."

"The Canadian Embassy undertook a comprehensive review of almost 300 cases, identifying about a dozen that were suspect and subsequently referring those to SSIS (Egyptian State Security Investigative Services)."

"The FPU (Fraud Prevention Unit) has confirmed the active role of Coptic priests and nuns in smuggling infants and children to the United States."

"An American Citizen couple attempted to register a newborn as their biological child during a scheduled consular outreach visit held at the American Center in Alexandria. The couple fit the profile developed by the Cairo Fraud Prevention Unit (FPU) in reftels and the case was referred to Egyptian authorities for further investigation. The couple subsequently admitted that the newborn was not their biological child and paying about USD 70 for the premature infant. Egyptian authorities have detained the alleged birth mother and have issued a warrant for the arrest of the doctor who falsely attested to delivering the baby."

"Another case has surfaced. The couple, who was attempting to obtain a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) and passport for their alleged newborn, appeared at the American Center in Alexandria during a consular outreach visit by the American Citizens Services (ACS) unit on December 6. The keen eye of an Entry Level Officer quickly identified the case as fitting the profile developed by FPU (Fraud Prevention Unit) and referred the case to the Fraud Prevention Manager (FPM). FPU Confirms Fraud."

"The Senior Fraud Investigator spoke with the doctor who allegedly delivered the child. The doctor admitted that she provided a bogus letter attesting to the birth, and that she had never met the couple. A visit by another Fraud Investigator to the clinic where the woman allegedly gave birth confirmed that the clinic handled only blood tests, not childbirths. When confronted with this information, the couple admitted the newborn was not their biological child. They indicated they had received the child from a local Coptic hospital in Alexandria and had paid a nominal fee of about USD 70."

"One of the cases concerned an elderly Egyptian couple who had applied for visas with a young boy they claimed as their biological child. The man subsequently admitted to the FPM (Fraud Prevention Manager) that they had been given the child by a Coptic priest in Alexandria. CCD checks revealed that the Coptic priest and his wife are U.S. Legal Permanent Residents."

"SSIS (Egyptian State Security Investigative Services) in Alexandria is actively pursuing all leads in this case in an attempt to fully uncover any other potential baby trafficking networks. The most senior SSIS general in Alexandria is following the investigation and has solicited the cooperation of the FPU (Fraud Prevention Unit)."

"To date the FPU (Fraud Prevention Unit) has identified 21 cases during the past 20 years from the American Citizen Services Unit (ACS) where couples attempted to falsely document a newborn as an American citizen. Of those 21 cases, four couples were successful in getting their respective newborns to the United States and then subsequently documented as American citizens. In most cases, the newborns traveled with Egyptian passports."

"In addition, the FPU (Fraud Prevention Unit) has identified one case from the Nonimmigrant Visa (NIV) unit where a doctor successfully smuggled a newborn to the United States on a non-immigrant visa. SSIS (Egyptian State Security Investigative Services) has arrested and charged two doctors, one nun, one banker and six alleged parents, two of whom are Amcits. All are being held awaiting trial. SSIS has closed three clinics/hospitals, issued warrants for the arrest of another two doctors and one individual and located five newborns in Cairo that had been bought and sold. SSIS has indicated that the newborns have been returned to Social Services."

"The FPU (Fraud Prevention Unit) has been able to identify one case where the baby trafficking network has utilized NIVs (Nonimmigrant Visas) to get newborns to the United States. In this particular case, a 50-year old doctor who had been previously identified in two separate ACS (American Citizens Services) cases as falsely attesting to delivering babies, applied for a visa with his alleged newborn. The doctor claimed to be traveling without his wife to visit a Coptic priest in the United States. When the wife was questioned by SSIS (Egyptian State Security Investigative Services), she claimed she knew nothing of a newborn although she was listed on the birth certificate."

"In addition, ADIS checks confirmed that this doctor and newborn were on the same flight with a couple who, six months previously, had been unsuccessful in an attempt to falsely document a newborn in ACS (American Citizens Services). The FPU (Fraud Prevention Unit) continues to review NIV (Nonimmigrant Visa) records for other possible similar cases. In addition, a set of parameters has been passed to the CCD Adhoc team with a request for reports on NIV, IV (Immigrant Visa) and DV (Diversity Visa) cases to determine whether other newborns have traveled to the United States based on fraudulent documents."

"Smugglers had been utilizing all available avenues to move the babies to the United States. 28 cases in both the American Citizen Services (ACS) and Nonimmigrant Visa (NIV) units have been confirmed where babies and young children have been successfully smuggled to the United States. The pattern pointed to the possibility that the Immigrant Visa unit had also been a means by which to smuggle newborns and children."

"The 938 cases contained 213 cases of twins, one of the common fraud indicators developed for this baby smuggling profile. In some of these cases the age difference between the twins and the last sibling was almost ten years."

"In addition, of the 938 cases, 647 cases had children who were born after the family was notified they had won the DV lottery. In many of these cases the parents were in their 40's and already had two or three children between the ages of 6-12 years old. In all of the cases where fraud was suspected, the DV parents seemed to have "tagged on" a set of twins or a single newborn to their already existing family unit. The FPU (Fraud Prevention Unit) continues to search for a reliable means by which to confirm fraud in these cases."

"A review of the number of DVs (Diversity Visas) issued at post from FY04 to FY05 shows a sharp increase in cases from 1,760 to 3,570. The number of DVs issued for each consecutive year then remains constant with 3,624 for FY-06, 3,554 for FY-07 and 3,557 for FY-08."

"In addition, the percentage of Coptic Christians being issued DVs (Diversity Visas) for each of those years also remains constant at about 91 percent. Interviews with DV applicants have highlighted the important role the Coptic Church has played in not only informing its members about the DV lottery, but helping them apply as well. Given that the FPU (Fraud Prevention Unit) has confirmed the active role of Coptic priests and nuns in smuggling infants and children to the United States through ACS (American Citizens Services) and NIV (Nonimmigrant Visa), post believes that the DV lottery may have also been utilized as a means for funneling children to the United States."
On Sept. 17, 2009, after a year long investigation by Egyptian authorities and the Cairo Fraud Prevention Unit (FPU), an Egyptian judge handed out two-to-five year jail sentences to 11 members of a baby smuggling ring. The members included two American parents, two doctors, a nun and a banker.

The cables suggest the baby smuggling ring has been dismantled by the SSIS (Egyptian State Security Investigative Services).

Here are links to some WikiLeaks Cairo cables related to the baby smuggling ring:






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