Guatemala Army Kidnapped, Sold 333 Children

Kids were adopted in US, Sweden, and Italy
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2009 12:05 PM CDT
Orphanage workers care for babies in San Jose Pinula, Guatemala, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2007.   (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

(Newser) – The Guatemalan army stole at least 333 children during the country’s 36-year civil war, selling them for adoption in countries including the US, Sweden, and Italy, says a new government report. In some cases, the children’s parents were killed. “This was a great abuse by the state,” the lead investigator tells CNN. Asked if there would be prosecutions, he replied, “I hope so.”

The investigation covered 1977 to 1989, the years when the country reached its peak for adoptions. But Alvarez says many more children could have been taken during and after that period, and investigators will continue their work through 1995, the last year of the civil war. Alvarez says many of the kidnappings were motivated by politics as well financial gain.