“They knew and they let us go,” protests Véronique Piaser-Moyen today. In 1985, she traveled to Sri Lanka with her husband to adopt their daughter Titania. 33 years later, the young woman asks them to meet her biological parents. Véronique sends her daughter’s adoption file to a Sri Lankan friend who is doing location scouting. And the news falls: “it’s a baby farm”.
“I never could have imagined that he was going to tell me something like this because we had no reason to consider it. We had done everything in the rules and we had confidence, ”says Véronique today. “Either the children were stolen at birth, which is the case of our daughter, or during a false medical examination during which the child is taken to the hospital. »
Titania has since been able to meet her biological mother. But the couple didn’t stop there. For four years, they have been investigating this “large-scale trafficking” which would concern nearly 1,500 children in France, now in their forties. “What we discovered goes beyond the worst of what we had imagined. “Today, the couple is fighting to have the responsibility of the French State recognized in this tragedy.
For four years, you and your husband have been investigating this baby trafficking. What have you discovered?
When we returned to Sri Lanka, we discovered a large scale traffic since it concerned 1,500 adoptions in France in the 1980s and 11,000 for Europe. Once back in France, after Titania met her biological mother, for us, it was not over. We said to ourselves “it’s not possible that in France we don’t talk about it”. We could see that people were starting to talk about it in other European countries. But in France, no one was talking about it so decided to talk to French journalists about it. We expected that there would be a reaction, that the French government would take it up and immediately have an investigation carried out.
But that is not at all what happened. We, we had in front of us only silence and bordering on contempt, saying to us “you make up your mind, it only happened to you. What are your proofs? » We said to ourselves « they want proof and well we will find some. We are going to present them with a file in good and due form so that they can no longer tell us that we are making up our minds. »
To find this evidence, you notably went to the diplomatic archives in Nantes and to the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Europe in La Courneuve. What did you find?
We found evidence! You should know that there is a period of fifty years to consult these archives, otherwise you have to ask for an exemption. So we asked for an exemption and we were told “yes, but we will only show you what we want to show you”. That is to say that the “sensitive files” will be removed from the boxes. We said “yes, but we will come anyway. Show us what you want to show us. And even after removing these sensitive files from the boxes, we still found probative documents.
In particular, we found the letter from the ambassador in place in 1983 in Sri Lanka, who wrote to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Paris, telling him “what I see unfolding before my eyes, all these adoptions that I see, is a probable child trafficking”. He wrote that in 1983 and we realize that we made our adoption file in 1984 and that we adopted our child in 1985. So we say to ourselves “but they knew! They knew and they let us go”. At the La Courneuve archives, we asked that they send us the bottom of the archives concerning Sri Lanka during the 1980s. Inside, there is quite simply a folder which is called “child trafficking”.
When you discovered the extent of trafficking, did you get any solidarity from other adoptive parents?
When we discovered this traffic, we immediately wanted to get in touch with other adoptive parents. Some spontaneously got in touch with us after our start of media coverage. But it was not the momentum we had hoped for. We ended up quite alone. Even if we know that there are parents who support us, there are others who don’t support us at all. We say to ourselves that as parents, we have to be united and that we have to move forward. I know that this is also the request of some adoptees who say “we need the support of the parents because the parents are witnesses of the time”. They were infants at the time and cannot know what happened there.
But I also think it’s so painful that many parents prefer not to go over it again. And then some adoptive parents died. Others are aging and do not necessarily have the means to get into this fight. You have to understand them. They are tired too.
What do you say to people who tell you that you could have realized it at the time?
It’s true that there were gross mistakes that had been made and that they were still a bit in a hurry to see us leave. But I tell myself that we had no reason not to trust them. It must also be said that their strategy was very well developed. We arrive in Sri Lanka on January 14, 1985. On January 15, we put our baby in our arms. Looking back, I tell myself that it was very strategic because afterwards they could actually ask us for anything and make us do anything. Me, once I had my baby in my arms, well yes, I wanted us to get to the end and everything to go well. They knew they had us.
And then we had confidence. We had made a file in good and due form vis-à-vis the French State and the Ddass. Our entire file had been stamped. When we went back to the French embassy in Colombo to have our daughter’s passport stamped and a visa affixed, we weren’t told “watch out, beware”. So we had no reason to have any doubts.
What are you asking today?
Today, what we are asking for is that an investigation be carried out, as has been the case in other European countries. In Switzerland, for example, Ms. Pereira, who was our intermediary and who we thought was an orphanage director, is implicated and recognized as a mafia and trafficker in terms of international adoption in Sri Lanka.
We ask that in France the same type of investigation be carried out and that the State recognize that there have been shortcomings, that they may have made mistakes. It’s not hard to recognize that. We have also filed a complaint with the Paris prosecutor’s office for which we are a civil party. This is another way to have an investigation. We hope that an investigating judge has started to investigate. But we don’t have much news for now.