12 children sold for 250 UK pounds each
Italian mother breaks silence to confess she sold her 12 children for £250 each
Last updated at 22:49pm on 6th April 2008
A woman has admitted giving birth to 12 children and then selling them for £250 each to wealthy couples.
The children were born as Caterina Annarumma conducted a 30-year affair with a married man. She kept her secret for decades before confessing to police this year.
She claimed to love the boys and girls dearly but said she had sold them because she was living in poverty in the southern Italian city of Naples.
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Caterina Annarumma, 70, confesses she sold her 12 children for £250 each
Police have tracked down ten of the children, now aged in their thirties and forties. Mrs Annarumma, 70, has had a tearful reunion with one, a daughter called Marina.
The babies were sold to well-off Italian couples. Their mother claimed her motive had not only been cash but also a wish to give them a better life.
She said she had gone to police to clear her conscience. She is unlikely to be prosecuted for child-trafficking because the offences happened decades ago.
Mrs Annarumma said she sold her first child, a boy, for 500,000 lire (about £250) in 1961, giving her what was then a small fortune.
At the time she was 23 and having an affair with a married man, Nicola Annarumma, who would later become her husband. The pair had 12 more children up until 1979, keeping the last one, a boy named Gerardo.
"I was seeing Nicola in secret," she said. "He already had a family and we were lovers and we had children. What was I supposed to do? Kill the babies?
"When the children were born they were sold and they helped pay off debts. We lived in a hovel then and we had no money."
She continued to see Mr Annarumma, now 75, until 1988 when he divorced and they were able to marry.
The story came to light after Marina, a psychologist, learned she was adopted and traced her birth parents. Prompted by Marina's visit, Mrs Annarumma went to her local police station.
"I wanted to get it off my chest," she said.