Madeleine McCann: the ‘important lead’, unnamed sources and sexual exploitation
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
The Sun (front page): ” MADDIE GANG PROBE Cops given cash to probe ‘important’ new lead that Maddie was snatched by people trafficking gang.”
Important enough for the paper’s front page – but not ‘important’ enough to avoid those inverted commas.
The rest of the Press follow the Sun’s lead.
The Mirror: ‘Madeleine McCann cops chasing ‘important new lead’ as investigation reaches “last roll of the dice”.’
The Indy: “Scotland Yard set to investigate ‘important’ new lead in disappearance of Madeleine McCann.”
Daily Mail: “Scotland Yard given extra funding to probe ‘important’ new lead over theory that Madeleine McCann was kidnapped by trafficking gang.”
It’s important. Maybe.
Over pages 4 and 5, readers are told more.
The development is being taken so seriously that senior Whitehall officials have been briefed by the Met on its progress.
Well, the hunt for the missing child has cost a lot of public money. Maybe the bean counters are worried about a lack of value for their investment?
And what of the breakthrough?
Detectives are following a tip that a gang of European traffickers snatched the tot after taking pictures of her. It could end up proving that she is still alive, nearly ten years after she vanished.
Everyone sane would like this story to have a happy ending. But how can anything prove the child is alive other than her being found?
As with so much to do with this story, an unnamed source is quoted:
A source said: “This is an important new line of inquiry which could provide an explanation on whether Madeleine was abducted and transported away. It raises hope that she could still be alive.”
Surely we only know if the new tip is important if it comes up with evidence that explains what happened to Madeleine McCann.
Retired Yard detective Colin Sutton said the extra money for the last line of inquiry means “there must be something worthwhile”.
Who needs evidence when you’re a retired detective?
The Sun adds: “Reports following Madeleine’s disappearance suggested she could have been taken to Belgium or Morocco in North Africa.”
But this is interesting:
The Met’s clubs and vice unit received a tip that the ring had placed an order for a “young girl” just three days before Madeleine went missing. Leicestershire Police, who at that point led the Operation Task effort to help find Madeleine, were also informed.
Is there any evidence to support the story?
In 2011, police in Portugal smashed a trafficking ring snatching young women and underage girls in the Algarve and Aveiro, in the north of the country.
The Portugal Resident has more:
An operation to crack down on human trafficking has led to the arrests of 12 men identified as being part of a criminal network in the Algarve and Aveiro, in the north of Portugal.The ring is believed to be responsible for the sexual exploitation of many young women in the Algarve, some of them underage, who were being coerced into acting as prostitutes in the region
During the operation, 30 Romanian women were identified as possible victims of human trafficking.
The SEF, Portugal’s immigration and border service, added:
“The movement of the prostitutes between different networks hindered the police and judicial authorities in being able to conduct a criminal investigation but authorities in Spain, Italy, the UK and Germany cooperated with us with the assistance of Europol in this case.”
Algarve Social Democrat (PSD) MP Mendes Bota was unimpressed with the suspects’ treatment:
Speaking to Lusa News Agency on Monday this week, Mendes Bota claimed that, “a few days after they were arrested”, the majority of the individuals detained by SEF Immigration Officers during the February bust “were released by a judge who decided that they should await their trial, who knows when [the trial will commence], unrestrained.”
We can’t find any news on any trail.
Such are the facts.