A Reddit thread has revealed that a French couple who are convicted of charges linked the illegal adoption, transportation and fraud involving over 100 children across Africa is operating a family game café in the heart of Cape Town.
The public was shocked to find out that Eric Breteau and partner Emilie Lelouch, who are the owners of popular The Big Box Café on Roeland Street, were apprehended in Chad in 2007. The café is wildly popular with families, who often bring their children to play board games such as Scrabble and 30 Seconds.
“They have been found guilty in the French courts and have been sentenced to two years in prison for their attempt in 2007 to illegally smuggle 103 children, who they falsely claimed were orphans, out of Chad and to France where “families” were waiting to “adopt them”. The couple stated in court that they were under “heavy pressure” to get those children to France,” the thread titled The Child Traffickers of Big Box Café read.
The pair was charged with illegally acting as an adoption intermediary, aiding illegal entry into the country as well as fraud involving promises to 358 families that they would be able to adopt children. Their case made global headlines at the time.
The pair, who had both previously worked in charity, were sentenced to two year in prison and slapped with fines of e50 000 each. They were also banned from working with minors.
BBC News reported that Breteau had started a charity in 2005 called Zoé’s Ark, which aimed to provide aid and relief to children affected by conflict in Dafur. Through the charity, they aimed to place children, usually under the age of five years old, in the care of French families. “However, the 103 children the charity was putting on to a plane from Chad to France in 2007 were found to be largely from Chad itself, and were not orphans,” the BBC report read.
The charity was dissolved when the pair were convicted, and received a fine of e100 000.
“It is now with the lawyers because these are serious allegations,” Breteau said when he was contacted by IOL. “There will be a press release next week. The legal process will be followed because it is defamatory.”
Oh wow! This is quite frightening https://t.co/MZI0l3cw4S
— Charl Fourie (@charl4e) June 27, 2019
This has me SERIOUSLY freaked out right now https://t.co/oUcsipbJKl
— Caryn Venter (@madgurl69) June 27, 2019
— Vinthi Neufeld (@VinSocialNews) June 28, 2019