Nigerian police are informing journalists that they've raided a "baby farm" in the southern city of Aba, rescuing four babies and arresting a doctor who authorities believe buys babies for $160 to $190 (males command higher prices) and illegally sells them to childless couples for up to $6,400, according to the AP. Reuters adds that the babies may also be sold to witch doctors who use the body parts of infants in rituals or sent to Europe--especially the U.K.--where they are used in welfare fraud schemes. The doctor claims he was simply placing unwanted babies in orphanages.
The news outlets reporting the raid aren't in agreement about the role played by the 32 pregnant teenage girls--some as young as 15--who were at the Heda clinic when police arrived. The AP, for example, notes that the girls were "arrested" and may face charges for "planning to sell their babies," and Reuters adds that some girls said they were directed to the clinic by friends who had been there before. But the BBC (and other outlets), citing a Nigerian police chief, claims the girls were "rescued" after being locked up at the clinic and forced to produce babies, noting that "desperate teenagers with unplanned pregnancies are sometimes lured to clinics." The BBC also provides some context for the raid. In Nigeria, where UNICEF estimates at least 10 children are sold daily, baby-trafficking is illegal, but it's very rare for traffickers to be caught and prosecuted.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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