Greek police believe Gypsy family planned to make big money by selling her into a forced marriage at the age of just 12.
The jailed foster parents of little ‘blonde angel’ Maria bought her as an “investment” to cash in on the biggest tradition of the gypsy world, police believe. The youngster is thought to have been bought young, with the intention of making big money by selling her into a forced marriage at the age of just 12. Police are investigating whether Maria, believed to be aged five or six, was being prepared for sale to a wealthy gypsy leader. Marriage at the age of 12 is common practice in many traditional Roma communities, with the bride’s family getting a pay-out from the new in-laws.
Because Maria was seen as a “white-skinned beauty” within the gypsy camp, she would be considered a “prize investment”. A police source said: “The money a family gets in the case of marriage is negotiable at a high level, especially with a prize catch like Maria. “This could be like a business deal which would give them a profit at the end of it when they sell to the highest bidder.” It could explain why a family with 13 other registered children – and raking in more than £2,000 in benefits a month – kept another mouth to feed for more than four years.
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