Bulgarians arrested for child prostitution in France

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French police have arrested a group of ethnic Roma accused of forcing their eight children to work as street prostitutes in Bordeaux, southwest France, prosecutors said.

The four men and five women, all Bulgarian nationals, were arrested Tuesday during a police raid on squats and apartments in Bordeaux and charged with procuring prostitutes.

Eight boys, some as young as 12, were taken into child care custody and a special judge dealing with child protection is to rule on their case, officials said.

The Bulgarian parents, aged between 33 and 44, were arrested as part of a police investigation launched in December into some 20 boys being forced to walk the streets in the city.

The "network was spreading" and many "clients from outside Bordeaux" were being drawn to the area where the boys were selling sex, said police commissioner Alexandre Desporte.

Three of the parents could face up to 15 years in prison for forcing children under 12 into prostitution while the other five face up to 10 years as their boys were aged 15 and 16.

© 2010 AFP

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