A special unit of the Ecuador National Police rescued a baby girl on Sunday and returned her to her mother in Cuenca. The baby had been kidnapped from the family home when she was nine days old.
Two people have been arrested in the case.
According to the National Police Anti-Kidnapping and Extortion Unit, the baby was sold to a couple north of Cuenca, in Cañar Province, for $5,900, by what they describe as a criminal group that specializes in selling babies and children. The special police unit made two raids early Sunday to recover the child and make the arrests.
The baby was kidnapped October 7 and police had been conducting an investigation up until he time of the raids. “We have been working hard on this case since we know how painful it has been for the mother,” said Interior Minister José Serrano, head of National Police. “Kidnapping and trafficking in children is one of the most serious crimes we deal with,” he added.
Verónica Faicán, director of the Human Trafficking Office of the Interior Ministry, said she believes that there are several networks operating in the country that kidnap babies and young children to sell to couples who want to adopt. The networks target lighter-skinned children of European heritage, she said. “We will dismantle these gangs and make certain that those involved receive the maximum prison sentences,” she said.
After her rescue, the baby was taken to Vicente Corral Moscoso Hospital for a medical evaluation before being returned to her mother. Police continue to investigate whether the couple who bought the baby were aware that she was kidnapped.