The story of Laura, an Italian girl locked in an orphanage in Mexico: she hasn't spoken to her mother for months


The story of Laura, an Italian girl locked in an orphanage in Mexico: she hasn't spoken to her mother for months

A 10-year-old Italian girl has been locked in a Mexican “orphanage” for months. The Minors Ombudsman: “The child must be quickly returned to the care of her mother. It must be done as soon as possible, too much time has already passed. The little girl's psycho-physical conditions are very worrying.”

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Elena with her daughter

A 10-year-old Italian girl has been locked up in a Mexican orphanage since last August: the little girl, who has been prevented from seeing her mother for months, is in increasingly worrying psycho-physical conditions and has recently allegedly committed acts of self-harm. The case was reported to the embassy and the Italian government, which however has not yet been able to intervene and obtain the release of the little girl.

The little girl's mother tells the story to . The woman's name is Elena M. , she is a 43-year-old in her thirties and is fighting with all her might to be able to hug her daughter Laura again (fictitious name, ed.); the little girl is locked up in a Dif social services facility in Oaxaca , southern Mexico, and is the recipient of a “protection measure” imposed by a judge, a restrictive measure that prevents her mother from meeting her and communicating with her.

Who is Elena and when did she have her daughter

But let's go in order. Elena, a documentary photographer, arrived in Mexico for the first time in 2009: here she met a man and four years later, in 2013, she became pregnant. Her partner turned out to be a violent person and addicted to alcohol abuse so the woman, after leaving him, returned to Italy and gave birth to her daughter Laura in Cles , in the province of Trento. “The little girl – says Elena – was born and lives in Italy, I had her and raised her alone, she only has my surname and she is only an Italian citizen”. The little girl was never recognized by her biological father. After a couple of years spent between Trentino and Central America, Elena returned to Mexico. And it is in the city of Oaxaca that the situation degenerated on August 16th.

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Laura's birthday and the complaint of mistreatment

That day Laura was celebrating her tenth birthday when a domestic dispute broke out between mother and daughter, an episode in itself insignificant which however marked a point of no return . In fact, after a report from her ex-partner, Elena was arrested by the police for family violence, an accusation not supported by any evidence: Elena's release, which occurred after a few hours, however, did not mark the end of the nightmare but rather the beginning of an even bigger one. In fact, that same day Laura was accompanied to a facility in Oaxaca that welcomes orphaned or abused children.

In the first few weeks Elena managed to meet her daughter a few times, always supervised by the staff of the facility for minors. “I was granted – she says – one-hour visits under the strict supervision of two psychologists and without the possibility of carrying with me telephones or anything that could record what was happening inside. In that place everything happened to her, I saw my daughter bang her head as she screamed that she wanted to leave. She has already suffered trauma that will be difficult to resolve.”

Elena and her daughter

Elena and her daughter

Then, on December 17th, the situation worsened further with the imposition of a precautionary measure by a judge which now prevents the woman from approaching Laura or communicating with her. Since that day, the Trentino mother has no longer been able to hug her daughter, “and I fear – she states – that I won't be able to see her again for years”. In the meantime, the father requested the DNA test, ten years late; the fear is that he might use it to take custody of the child away from her mother, Elena.

The Guarantor for Minors: “Very serious case, the government should intervene”

The 43-year-old from Trentino, whose passport has also been withdrawn in the meantime, has appealed to the Italian Embassy in Mexico, which is apparently following the case, but also to the Guarantor for Minors of the Province of Trento, Dr. Fabio Biasi , former Chief Prosecutor of the Trentino Juvenile Prosecutor's Office. The guarantor, consulted by , confirmed the version provided by Elena: “I have been following the matter since last September. After the mother's report, which reached us via email, we immediately opened a case to protect the little girl, who she is locked up in a sort of orphanage intended for abandoned minors or victims of violence.”

Fabio Biasi, Guarantor for Minors of the Autonomous Province of Trento

Fabio Biasi, Guarantor for Minors of the Autonomous Province of Trento

Laura, confirms Doctor Biasi, “was placed there following a quarrel with her mother and a simultaneous complaint of mistreatment by the alleged father. On that occasion the mother was arrested and immediately released; the child, however, , was held in an institution”. The guarantor of minors' rights explains that no charges have been formalized against Elena by the Mexican authorities, despite almost six months having passed, but that in any case for the removal of a child from her mother “serious conditions are needed, it cannot be do because of a quarrel or a single episode”.

And it is again Biasi who reports the episode: “Elena told us that on August 16th, the day of her daughter's tenth birthday, she had an argument with the little girl. The little girl allegedly made a small scene and after breaking a glass she reported some wounds to her forearm. She called the ambulance, but with it the police also arrived accompanied by the alleged father of the little girl , a Mexican citizen who never recognized the little girl but who recently appealed to the Oaxaca court to obtain recognition of paternity by asking for a DNA test after ten years.”

The Guarantor: “The little girl attempted suicide in her room”

It is on the basis of the simple complaint of mistreatment by the man that Laura has been locked up for months in a structure of the Dif system (Desarrollo Integral de la familia). Here, confirms Biasi, “the little girl's condition has worsened . The mother reports that Laura has lost a lot of weight and that recently she attempted to strangle herself in her room with a rope after an argument with the alleged father, who coincidentally has free access to the institution unlike the mother, to whom access is prohibited”. In short, the little girl is not well, “we need to hurry so that she is freed. We believe that what is taking place is a very serious and clear violation of the minor's rights . Since there is no specific and formal accusation against the mother, the little girl must return with her. I personally made contact with the Italian Embassy in Mexico City, in particular with the consul Andrea Lay Bordoni, who seemed to me to be very prepared and attentive to the matter; we also attempted to mediate with the alleged father, but to no avail” .

“Now let the government intervene, and hurry”

The guarantor states that the Italian government has also been informed of the matter for some time, in the hope that high-level diplomatic action could lead to Laura's release and her return to her mother's arms: “Months ago we reported the facts to Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the juvenile justice department of the Ministry of Justice . Without prejudice to the independence of Mexican judges, I hope they have been informed that we are faced with a very serious violation of the rights of a child . Mexican organizations are taking an interest in the case for minors' rights, but everything seems to be at a standstill and without more incisive action from Italy we do not see a positive outcome for this story. I reiterate one concept: Laura must be quickly returned to the care of her mother. It must be done as soon as possible, too much has already passed time. The psycho-physical conditions of the little girl are very worrying; she must be guaranteed to be able to live in her real family, as established by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child”.


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