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Trading of Newborns Booms: Baby Girls Priced Lot Less than Baby Boys!

baby_girls_are_precious_too_.JPG

There just seems to be no end to the miseries that the female gender encounters. Mothers, wives, spinsters, ladies, sisters, brides, baby girls, young girls, aunties, grannies, are all at the receiving end of most ills of the society. Before now, the most common types of abuse that baby girls were subjected to centered on abandonment, rejection, and sexual abuse. However, a new dimension of dilemma has been added to the woes of baby girls. Today, the inglorious act of treating babies as an article of trade is made worse by the fact that baby girls are thought to be of lesser value and thus sold at prices far lesser than the price tags placed on baby boys. Beyond the price issue, it is outrageous that even within the confines of such illicit activities, sex discrimination still persists. While new born baby boys are sold for prices ranging between N600,000.00 – N1,500,000.00 (that is $3750 - $9375); baby girls go for a low as N150,000.00 – N300,000.00 ($937.5 - $1875).

The illegal act of buying and selling of new born babies seems to have become normal practice for both the illicit merchants and their clientele. The act is being perpetuated by syndicates spread across different parts of Nigeria. It is sad to note, though, that these reprehensible cartels have as members both well-read men and women alike. Only recently, an Onitsha (in Anambra, Southeastern Nigeria) based medical doctor and his allies were arrested by officers of the department of state Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Awka, Anambra. The medical doctor was arrested alongside his wife and five other members of the syndicate, including a teacher in one of the primary schools in Umuoji, Idemili Local Government Area after they had allegedly conspired and sold a new born baby boy belonging to a sales girl aged 20 years, for N600,000.00 ($3,750.00).

The doctor and his accomplices were discovered to have been housing prostitutes as well as adolescent girls, and impregnating them for the purpose of breeding babies for sale. They were also found to be offering maternity services to unsuspecting pregnant women, whom they eventually dispossess of their newly delivered babies; without their consent. The medical doctor’s areas of operations were quite wide as it was also discovered that he ran a maternity home at Amaorji village where he also employed others who aided his illicit business of “new born babies trafficking”. It took the efforts of a legal representative of the 20 year old sales girl to open up the doctor’s can of worms.

The hapless young lady was said to have gotten pregnant for her boyfriend who later absconded. Weighed down by her predicament, she took her boss into confidence regarding her hard luck. She thought fate had smiled on her when he offered to marry her and take full responsibility for her condition. To an extent, he fulfilled his promise by taking full responsibility for all her needs. Everything appeared normal and at a stage, she was taken to a hospital and maternity home located in Onitsha, where she was safely delivered of a baby boy. Unknown to her, however, plans had been perfected by her boss cum husband, to sell the baby. Sadly, the baby is yet to be recovered.

Another victim of the illegal baby trade had been living with her grandmother until a young man approached her granny and asked for her hand in marriage. Happily, her granny consented, and the marriage held. By the time the girl got pregnant, her husband did not permit her to enroll for anti-natal classes in a regular hospital; but rather he brought a nurse to her; informing her that the nurse would provide her with all the necessary care at home up until her time of delivery. By the time she was due, the nurse who had by now become a regular face in their home, came over, delivered her of the baby and took the baby away. Her husband allayed her concerns about leaving their baby with the nurse, by convincing her that they needed time together while the nurse cared for the baby. Consequent upon mounting pressures from the new mother and her granny who longed to see and embrace her great grandchild, it was discovered that the baby’s father had actually sold the baby to the nurse.

A third victim’s story which I thought pertinent to bring to bare is that of a teenage girl who got pregnant and was sent away from home by her parents. During her sojourn out of home, she met someone who directed her to a maternity home notorious for taking in young girls with unwanted pregnancies. The girl was all too glad to be rid of her baby and return home. She willingly gave the baby up to the health center where she was safely delivered of the baby. Feeling accomplished, she happily returned home claiming that she was never pregnant and that her mother had only raised a false alarm. Her well experienced mother could however not be deceived into believing her daughter’s cock and bull story and pressured her into telling the truth. This of course lead to the uncovering of the nefarious activities perpetuated at the so called hospital and maternity center.

Currently, my dear country ranks high on the list of countries with soaring rates of child abuse. Nigeria has been identified as a source, transit and destination for trafficking in persons. The commonest forms of trafficking in persons were female and child trafficking. To think that newborn trafficking has joined the list remains mind boggling! At one end of the divide are women and young girls who are kidnapped or lured at will and forced to become baby breeders. The other end plays host to the many childless women who are desperate to save their marriages by acquiring a baby they can call their own. For such women desperation seems to have taken over reasoning, sensitivity and sensibility as they are ready to become mothers at all cost; especially because of the pressures they face from their in-laws who are unrelenting in their effort to send them out of their matrimonial homes if they didn’t give birth to a child. The question is “How many men have been sent out of their matrimonial homes by in-laws, because they were responsible for childlessness in the home? I dare say “None!”

Childbearing at all cost evidently remains one of the many extremes to which women are subjected to and is to a very large extent responsible for the current boom that the illegal trading of babies enjoys in Nigeria. This is untoward and the society must desist from acts that subject or push women to extremes. In a just society, everyone’s fundamental freedom and human rights must be respected and protected. No one has the authority to inflict procreation or deprive any woman, girl or mother of her reproductive right as well as right to her baby. The baby merchants and their clients who are on the prowl in our society fail to recognize and respect the joy of motherhood. It definitely means nothing to them! Everything must be done to stop them in their tracks. Everyone must join in the efforts to ensure that women’s reproductive rights and children’s rights are protected. We are collectively responsible for whatever happens to a mother and child in our society.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Ending Violence Against Women Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Wendyiscalm's picture

GREAT REPORTING

Olanike

Great reporting about a detestible happening. What can be done? It seems like such a deep seated unconscious process that no one realizes they are doing such wrong.

In Zimbabwe, the women cross the border to Zambia to sell their babies OR women rent a baby fora day, take the train to Zambia and walk around asking for food as people often feel sorry for a hungry child. Then they take the money and go back to Zim and give the baby back to the owner.

Picture really has a message of it's own. Very good.

Thanks for bringing this to all our attentions.

Ubuntu,

Wendy

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Greengirl's picture

Thank you Mama Wendy!

It is really very disheartening that babies are subjected to such terrible acts, because they cannot speak for themselves. In my opinion, mothers have been blessed with such unique bonding with their babies, such that they could speak for their babies. Alas, some mothers have chosen to trade that bond for worthless cash and related enticements. I hope the authorities pay closer attention to the rising problems of baby racketeering and illicit baby breeding!

Much love,

Olanike

Sharontina's picture

A deep concern.......

Dear Olanike,

As i am reading through i can feel the deep concern you have for this shameless act and the attitude that these people have developed towards this trade. Here in India, in the southern tip of the country too the villages have enough stories to relate selling babies. And most of them are girl babies. Shockingly they are sold to the pimps, taken to the horrible dungeon, the worst redlight area of Kolkata and finally brought up for prostitution.

In another part of India, Haryana, bride selling -buying has been a common trade endangering thousands of young girls. They are forever lost in the dark.

We have to raise our voices to erase this deeprooted practice out of the world. The political system of the government has to come forward to tighten the situation.

Thanks for coming up with this dear.

Love.

Merlin Sharontina

Greengirl's picture

I understand and share your concerns

Hello Sharontina,

Your exposition of the situation in India got me even more concerned. It is terrible that adults would throw caution to the winds and ill treat innocent babies. You certainly answered some of the very troubling questions I have had on my mind regarding the fate of trafficked babies; especially baby girls. How so unfair to have an innocent baby girl sold into perpetual slavery! What a harrowing form of subjection and deprivation.

I would love you to complement this post by telling the story of India too. The world needs to know about the grievous atrocities humanity commits against helpless baby girls. I will be on the look out!

Much Love,

Olanike

Amei's picture

I am lost at words.

Dear Olanike

This story has touched me deeply. A grave concern as Sharontina has mentioned. It is very sad to know that the little innocent children are abused in the had of adults whom we think know better. Earlier it was killing/burying the girls now they are sold for a lesser price. Always a lower value. Very sad.

I have heard of stories but reading in this forum makes it more real. I know Olanike has written this with much pain. I read and fell numb myself. I condemn these actions and pray that the situation changes. There is so much to be done and leaders of great countries are increasing there military power and sending their young men to fight.

I hope more finances are allocated for education and social welfare. I am glad you have shared this report. I wish you all the best to be able to make a difference.

With love
Amei

Greengirl's picture

I share your feelings

Sister Amei, first I must thank you for making out time to read the post and also sharing your view and concerns. So many terrible acts are happening all around us by the day, and it keeps me wondering if it is because we have kept silent for too long.

It is really sad that those whom we have entrusted leadership to seem to have little or no time to tackle real issues. When I say "real issues", I mean issues that threaten our collective existence.

I am convinced now more than ever before that as women, we must rise up and stand for what we believe will better our lot. Each one of us can make a difference.

Much love and appreciation.

'Olanike

Lylinaguas's picture

Great article!

Thanks for sharing this Olanke. I've also read about baby farms in Nigeria where girls with unwanted pregnancies are tricked into going into "abortion clinics" but when they get there, they are kept there until they give birth and the babies are sold. The mothers are given a small sum of money and then released. Some have the misfortune of being raped while staying there, others out of dire poverty go there to be impregnated then sell their babies after birth. It's a very tragic cycle of abuse but it's real and happening and something has to be done about it.

Lylin

Greengirl's picture

Getting More revealing

It is amazing that I am learning more about the situation in my country from you. Thank you for adding such important and useful information to the post. You have given me a new assignment and I will make effort to dig deeper into this societal ill and threat. Please permit me to re-echo the fact that "it is all a very tragic cycle of abuse".

The big question is where do leaders in my stand in all of these? I hope the authorities look in the right direction and take steps to end this heartbreaking practices!

God bless you for reaching out.

Hugs and love from Nigeria,

Olanike.

Lylinaguas's picture

Great article!

Thanks for sharing this Olanke. I've also read about baby farms in Nigeria where girls with unwanted pregnancies are tricked into going into "abortion clinics" but when they get there, they are kept there until they give birth and the babies are sold. The mothers are given a small sum of money and then released. Some have the misfortune of being raped while staying there, others out of dire poverty go there to be impregnated then sell their babies after birth. It's a very tragic cycle of abuse but it's real and happening and something has to be done about it.

Lylin

Portlandia's picture

Thank you Olanike!

Wow- I never cease to be amazed by the terrible injustices (especially to women and children) that are happening all over the world that we could never really imagine. Thank you so much for this very eye opening report on what's happening in Nigeria. Yes, I know that human trafficking exists- sadly it's probably in every country. But the degree to which you describe this happening in Nigeria is so painful to hear. Please continue to raise awareness about this- as you say, keep digging deeper and keep us informed. It is through voices like your own that progress will be made and hopefully we can begin to imagine a day when horrible things like this will go away forever.
Regards- Lynn

Greengirl's picture

Dear Lynn

I was as shocked and pained as you, when I found out that such a terrible act had become endemic in my dear country. To think that women will even turn a blind eye to the source of the baby that they intend to adopt is even more painful.

I cannot hope any less that someday, our world would be rid of all manners of evil that man perpetuates against man.

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement!

Hugs,

Olanike

es813's picture

Eye Opening!

Thank you Olanike for sharing the testimonies of those you know. Having a daughter of my own, I can't imagine the heart wrenching grief that these mothers must experience when their daughters are less valued and even sold without their consent! I'm so glad you are speaking out and bringing light to these horrific crimes. Perhaps as your voice and others band together to be heard, action will finally start to take place starting with each of us!
liz

Greengirl's picture

Thank You Liz

It is quite pathetic that fellow humans choose to treat other humans as commodities, and even go as far as underpricing females. In my opinion, it is a very wicked and criminal act that must be nipped in the bud. Your description of the practice as being a horrific crime is a downright truth. Perpetrators, their accomplices and those who patronize them should be punished alike. The world cannot afford to keep silent as other babies must not be made to suffer similar fates! We must keep speaking in hope that our voices will bring about the much desired positive change.

Thoughtfully,

Olanike

Potter's picture

Great Reporting

This beautifully written article tells a horrific story. Your use of specific stories is very effective. When the tales are told it is possible to understand how a woman could be manipulated into a situation where her baby could be stolen from her. What happens to the children? Someone heartless enough to steal or willing to accept a stolen child, does not seem like a good candidate for a lovng, caring parent. I would be interested to know if the perpetrators are ever prosecuted and, if so, how they are punished. You spoke of the 20 year old shop girl who had legal representation. Do you know how she found a legal representative and how she managed to pay for legal services? Are there social services available that can represent a woman who is brave enough to speak up and accuse her abusers? It must be very difficult to speak up and admit that you have been tricked in such a cruel way! By writing of this issue you are making it more possible for women to speak out and seek justice for themselves and their children. Thank you and keep writing!

Greengirl's picture

Our Collective Voices

Your comments remain invaluable and I am really glad you found the article worth reading and also responding to. Just as you pointed out, those who accept stolen babies would surely leave much to be imagined when it comes to parenting. It is sad to let you know that some of those babies never even make it to the homes of desperate surrogate parents. They usually end up in the hands of ritualists who terminate their lives in gruesome manners.

As for the shop girl, at the moment, I don't have details of how she was able to secure legal representation. The good news, however, is that the Nigerian Government through the Nigerian Police, Judiciary and the Agency charged with tackling the problems of human trafficking has provisions which makes it possible for people who are financially handicapped to get free legal representation. Such free legal services are offered by legal professionals who are in the employ of the State Judiciary; and they are referred to as Public Counsels. There are also many other public spirited legal professionals in private practice who offer free legal services on humanitarian grounds. Some civil society organizations and bilateral bodies also have free justice programs.

Nevertheless, these services are not made the most of because most victims are too scared to speak out and or never report to the relevant authorities and bodies.Most are also not aware that they could get free help with the tracking down and prosecution of their abusers. By readily sharing our perspectives on the issue more awareness is created by the day. Our collective voices can certainly make a much desired difference.

Best Wishes,

Olanike.

Potter's picture

Thank you

Thank you for your prompt and thoughtful response. Voices like yours will hopefully raise this issue and bring needed action. You are such a skillful writer! Keep it up!

Greengirl's picture

Thank you too!

You are a motivator and I sincerely appreciate you.

Potter's picture

Ah! What a nice compliment!

And you are a WRITER!!!! Keep it up. You have so much to say that needs to be heard!

Greengirl's picture

Thank you!

I just can't thank you enough for your motivating words. Thank you for helping me believe all the more in myself that I can make a difference.

Regards, Best wishes, Hugs and Much Love to an Inspirational Motivator: "YOU"!

Sincerely,

Olanike.

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