A portion of the Holy Book (Bible) described babies as a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
However, it is worrisome how selling of babies has become a source of business in some countries around the world, including India, Guatemala, Thailand, Greece, Egypt, and Nigeria, where baby factories have been discovered.
Stories about how baby factories are discovered in some parts of the country are not only alarming but worrisome hence the need for all hands to be on deck to put an end to this menace, which has become so rampant among some Nigerians who have chosen to toll the wicked paths.
Baby factories are locations where child harvesting takes place, and such harvesting is the systematic sale of human children, typically for adoption by families in the developed world, but sometimes for other purposes, including trafficking.
Child harvesting typically refers to situations where children are sold for adoption, but may also apply to cases in which children are trafficked to provide slave labor.
Human trafficking is widespread in West Africa, where children are bought from their families to work in plantations, mines, and factories or as domestic help.
In contrast, others are sold into prostitution, and less commonly, they are tortured or sacrificed in black magic rituals.
Human trafficking, including selling children, is prohibited under Nigerian law. Still, almost ten years ago, a UNESCO report on human trafficking in Nigeria identified the business as the country’s third-most common crime behind financial fraud and drug trafficking.
In June 2018, thirty-two pregnant women were found in Aba, Abia state in a hospital of The Cross Foundation. In October, same year, seventeen pregnant women were found in Ihiala, Anambra, in a hospital of the Iheanyi Ezuma Foundation.
Five more baby factories were discovered in 2013, and eight more were discovered in 2015.
Police authorities said baby boys are typically sold for 500,000 naira (S$1,900) while girls fetch 300,000 naira.
Recently, the Rivers State Police said it has uncovered a baby factory in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and rescued 24 babies between the ages of one and two years, as well as four pregnant teenagers.
It is so pathetic that at least ten children are reportedly sold every day across the country, and it is so prominent in states like Ondo, Ogun, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Abia and Anambra among other states across Nigeria.
The first publicly reported case of a baby factory was published by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization in 2006. In 2008, a network of baby factories claiming to be orphanages were revealed in Enugu state.
Who Are The Dealers?
Baby factories often take place in structures disguised as maternity homes, orphanages, clinics, and small scale factories where pregnant girls live and deliver babies in return for monetary compensation.
Also, it has been reported that the majority of the women whose children are sold are young unmarried women from lower-income households who are scared of social stigmatization as a result of an unwanted teenage pregnancy.
Infertile women are noted to be major patrons of these baby factories due to the stigmatization of childless couples in Southern Nigeria and issues around cultural acceptability of surrogacy and adoption.
These practices have contributed to the growth in the industry which results in physical, psychological, and sexual violence to the victims.
At some of the discovered baby factories, clergymen and other NGO owners have been arrested for operating the factories under the pretense of running an orphanage home.
How To End Operation Of Baby Factories
Tackling the baby factory menace will involve a multifaceted approach that includes advocacy and enacting of legislation barring baby factories and infant trafficking and harsh consequences for their patrons.
Also, there is a need to organize programs to educate young girls on preventing unwanted pregnancies.
Methods of improving awareness and acceptability of adoption and surrogacy and reducing the administrative and legal bottlenecks associated with these options for infertile couples should be explored to diminish the operation of baby factories.