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(London Independent) Italian police have arrested 18 people, including a mayor, social workers and psychologists for allegedly “brainwashing” children into believing their parents had abused them, in a scheme to take them away from their families and sell them to foster parents.

Authorities in the central Italian city of Reggio Emilia revealed how a network of carers allegedly used hours of psychotherapy sessions and electroshocks to convince children their parents had sexually abused them and “alter their memory ahead of the trials”, Italy’s Ansa news agency reports.

They then allegedly sold the children on to friends and acquaintances in a scheme worth hundreds of thousands of euros.

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