Friday, November 14, 2008

"Baby Farms" more extensive than once thought

A police raid of a "baby farm" in Nigeria has uncovered how widespread the social ill is.

Some human trafficking sites pose as maternity homes or foster clinics to lure young girls in. Once inside they are drugged, and raped, then some months later the baby is sold on the black market.

A recent raid in Nigeria rescued 20 teenage girls from the baby farm. The News Australia details how the farm operated, and talks to one on the girls. Our snippet is a bit bigger than usual due to the gravity of the story.

The doctor in charge, who is now on trial, reportedly lured teenagers with unwanted pregnancies by offering to help with abortion.

They would be locked up there until they gave birth, whereupon they would be forced to give up their babies for a token fee of around 20,000 naira ($170).

The babies would then be sold to buyers for anything between 300,000 and 450,000 naira ($2500-$3800) each, according to a state agency fighting human trafficking in Nigeria, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

But luck ran out for the gynaecologist, said to be in his 50s, when a woman to whom he had sold a day-old infant was caught by Nigeria's Security and Civil Defence Service (NSCDS) while trying to smuggle the child to Lagos, the security agency said.

Statistics on the prevalence of baby breeding are hard to come by, but anti-trafficking campaigners say it is widespread and run by well-organised criminal syndicates.

"We believe the scope is much wider than we know," said Ijeoma Okoronkwo, head of NAPTIP.
But one brave victim, an 18-year-old, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal, recounted her week-long ordeal when she was trapped inside one of the clinics days before it was raided by police.

"The moment I stepped in there, I was given an injection, I passed out and next thing I woke up and realised I had been raped," said the girl, who was five months pregnant at the time of her ordeal.

When she asked if she could telephone her family to let them know of her whereabouts, the doctor slapped her on the face.

She was shoved into a room where 19 other girls were kept; all had been through a similar experience. She said the doctor raped her again the following day. A week later police swooped on the clinic.

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