Two men from Berlin were arrested at the Munich airport this week while trying to illegally enter the country with a 10-year-old, law enforcement officials told daily Berliner Morgenpost.
They came under suspicion when immigration agents suspected the boy's Brazilian papers were forged. He was later found to be Costa Rican, though most of the children involved have been from Haiti.
Arrest warrants have since been issued for both men, with investigators from the state criminal police (LKA) and state prosecutors manning the case.
The duo, a German and a Swede, are accused of organized human trafficking.
According to an investigator the suspects have been taking children mainly from Haiti, which is still chaotic following the devastating earthquake there in January 2010. There they founded an fake aid organisation to care for underage street children, “apparently not for humanitarian reasons,” the paper reported.
Latin American children like the Costa Rican boy discovered in Munich were also victims of the group.
“The children were probably lured to Berlin under the false pretence of leading a new and better life in Germany,” an investigator said. “Among them were also orphans.”
But the real aim of the suspects was selling the children to Berlin paedophiles for sexual abuse, the paper said.
“The children were placed in a relationship of dependence and then offered to the scene. Following the expiration of their visas after three months they were sent home – with emotional trauma that one can't even imagine,” the investigator added.
The LKA is now working with the other countries involved to uncover the structure and breadth of the trafficking organisation and find out who their customers were.
“Whoever is making the effort to bring children in from abroad for sexual assault and then sending them back again must not only have a large circle of accomplices, but also some significant influence and significant financial means,” another investigator said.