One of the detainees is Nguyen Thi Thanh Trang, 37, the caretaker of the children supported by the pagoda, and the other is Pham Thi Nguyet, 35, a woman of northern Ninh Binh Province.

The women have been charged with “trading in, fraudulently exchanging or appropriating children” pursuant to Article 120 of the Penal Code.

The boy has been brought up at the orphanage since October 2013, when he was found in front of the pagoda, police said.

When he arrived, a couple who often visited the pagoda agreed to be godparents to the boy. They named him Cu Nguyen Cong and often visited him.

In November 2013, the boy became ill and was hospitalized. He was discharged back to the pagoda a month later.

In the first days of 2014, Cong disappeared from the pagoda. No one, including his godparents, knew where he had gone.

Investigations show that Trang and Nguyet sold Cong for VND35 million ($1,650).

After her arrest, Trang pleaded guilty to trading in children.

Police also summoned three other people, including the abbot of the pagoda, nun Thich Dam Lan, for questioning.

They are continuing to investigate to clarify how many children who lived at the pagoda have been traded or given away and whether Thich Dam Lan was involved in the trade.

On Tuesday of last week, police squashed a rumor that children had been sold for adoption at the pagoda.

Police confirmed that no children were sold for adoption by the pagoda after they launched an investigation into the rumor at the request of Long Bien District’s People’s Committee.

The investigation was made after some newswires and social networks published articles claiming that Bo De Pagoda had become an “intermediate channel” for selling orphans to others for adoption purposes, the People’s Committee said.

According to the rumor, for each child adopted, the pagoda received hundreds of millions of dong (VND100 million = $4,700) from the new parents.

However, nun Thich Dam Lan has rejected the allegation that it was an intermediate channel for child trafficking.

The pagoda’s support for these unfortunate children is out of humanitarian purposes, the Buddhist dignitary insisted.

Tuoi Tre News - August 4, 2014