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Roma kids allegedly brought to England

LONDON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- London police in a series of raids Tuesday arrested eight adults and took custody of 28 children allegedly brought from Romania to beg and steal.

Seventy-five other children were being questioned by social workers to determine if they were safe in their homes, the Daily Mail reported.

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The raids in Ilford in Northeast London followed testimony in a child-trafficking trial in Romania, police said. The 24 defendants in that case are charged with bringing as many as 200 Roma children to Witnesses have testified that up to 200 Roma children to Britain.

One of the children taken into foster care was a pregnant 12-year-old.

"It gives us great concern to find a child in this condition at such a tender age," Police Superintendent Bernie Gravett told the Mail. "This operation has not been about arresting people. It's about tracing potential victims of trafficking."

Investigators said the children were ordered to go out on the streets to beg and pick pockets, sometimes bringing in 300 pounds ($450) in a day.

Roma, formerly known as Gypsies, have lived in Britain and other Western European countries for centuries. But larger numbers have moved west since Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union.

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