Prejudice against the Roma
Prejudice and discrimination against the Roma are widespread in Greece and elsewhere in Europe, Amnesty International says.
Maria's case plays into old prejudices about them stealing children for forced labor.
Pardalis mentioned such a possibility, saying, "We don't have any other information if this girl was forced to work or to beg on streets."
The government news agency also raised "the possibility of the existence of a ring bringing pregnant women to Greece from Bulgaria and then taking their children for sale." The agency cited past reports that empty coffins had been found for infants who supposedly were stillborn to foreign mothers in Athens.