Wednesday, 23. April 2014 - 11:04
26. 11. 12. - 14:00
German social workers are under fire after it was discovered that two years ago they had put a nine-year-old boy into a travelling circus.
And it has now been revealed that other children have also been placed in other circuses as well as riding schools, farms and even in one case a travelling stunt show.
The boy, identified in German media only by his first name Jeremie, is now aged 11 and the scandal came to light when he was reported as missing by Circus Monaco staff.
In addition, allegations have now emerged in German media that the boy, who was from a gypsy family, had been used as slave labour by circus management and also been forced to beg.
The boy has now been missing for six days after he was last seen climbing into a white Mercedes transporter van at Luebtheen in Germany. The van was then discovered 70 miles away in Hamburg.
The boys carer at the circus Carmen Sperlich, 45, who has seven children of her own, denied the allegations that the boy had been forced to beg - and had been used as slave labour. She said that he had liked to dress up as a clown and had hopes of becoming a fire breather - but was too young to get the training at the moment.
When shown a video of him breathing fire she said: "He did not learn that here."
She added: "He was happy here. He used to call me mum."
As well as the reports that the boy had been used for begging in German media it was also claimed that he had been put in the circus because he came from a gypsy family.
Rudko Kawczynski, who is chairman of the Roma and Sinti Union Hamburg, said he was furious about the move, saying: "We really hope that his background was not the reason he ended up in the circus, while he was there it really ground him down, it was verging on torture."
The allegations the boy was placed with the circus because of his background were rejected by social worker spokesman Andy Grote, 44, who said: "The family background of the boy did not play any role in the choice of where he was placed. We have carers on farms, riding schools and indeed in other circuses as well as a travelling stunt show. Generally the project works well - the children get lessons by computer."
Jeremie grew up with his parents Rosita and Bruno because of his mother and his father's drugs problem. In the meantime both are now clean - and want their son back.
The grandfather told local media: "Jeremie often called me in tears because of the conditions he was experiencing there. He was having to sleep in an unheated caravan. It was inhuman."
Gibonni records a duet with Italian singer Danilo Sacco
Croatian pop star Gibonni has recorded a duet with Italian singer Danilo Sacco.
Croatian ship collided with Singapore ship near Dutch shores
Croatian ship Atlantic Tramp hasa collided with a Singapore flag ship Bulk Costa Rica near the shores of Netherlands.
Good start of the season for Dubrovnik
Some 14,000 tourists on cruising ships have visited the southern Croatian town of Dubrovnik during Easter holidays.
Tourism Minister says Croatia got better prepared for Russian tourists
Croatian Tourism Minister Darko Lorencin has revealed that Croatia is better prepared to host Russian tourists in 2014, compared to last year when a visa regime saw a decrease of 60 percent of visitors from that country.
Donna Vekic wins her first WTA tournament
Croatian tennis player Donna Vekic has won her first ever title on the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) tour.
Zagreb University ready to help fight against fake diplomas
The new dean of Zagreb University, Damir Boras, has invited companies and institutions to get in touch if they want to check whether a diploma given to them by an employee or prospective employee is real or fake.
Street food festival to present world cuisine in Zagreb
Croatian capital Zagreb is set to host the Street Food Festival on 26 and 27 April.
Croatian love in London
Queens Park Rangers Croat midfielder Niko Kranjcar, 29, is in a relationship with Lawrence Olivier-award winning actress and fellow Croatian Zrinka Cvitesic, 34, according to Croatian magazine Gloria.
Omis hosts 5th Guitar Fest
The southern Croatian town of Omis will host its 5th Guitar Fest from 24 to 26 April.
Centre of Zagreb covered with a live camera
All those missing Croatian capital Zagreb can now watch it on a live camera as part of the project Live Cam Croatia.
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|Croatia develops three major energetic projects, Foreign Minister says|
|Tickets already sold out for two of Croatia's matches at the World Cup|
|Croat pensioners wrongly thought they were millionaires|
|Tourism ministry prepares better strategy to attract Chinese tourists|
|French court stops the case against Bob Dylan after Croats sued him|