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Nigeria 'baby farm'
girls rescued by Abia state police
BBC News, 1 June 2011
Nigerian police have raided a hospital in the south-eastern city of Aba,
rescuing 32 pregnant girls allegedly held by a human-trafficking ring.
Aged between 15 and 17 years, the girls were locked up and used to
produce babies, said Abia state's police chief.
These were then allegedly sold for ritual witchcraft purposes or
But the hospital's owner denied running a "baby farm", saying
it was a foundation to help teenagers with unwanted pregnancies.
The UN organisation for the welfare of children, Unicef, estimates that
at least 10 children are sold daily across Nigeria, where
human-trafficking is ranked the third most common crime after economic
fraud and drug-trafficking.
But the BBC's Fidelis Mbah in the southern city of Port Harcourt says it
is very rare for traffickers to be caught and prosecuted.
Male babies prized
Abia state Police Commissioner Bala Hassan said four babies, already
sold in an alleged human-trafficking deal but not yet collected, were
also recovered in the raid on The Cross Foundation hospital.
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons
(Naptip), the organisation charged with fighting human-trafficking in
Nigeria, says their investigations show that babies are sold for up to
$6,400 (£3,900) each, depending on the sex of the baby.
Male babies are more prized, our correspondent says.
In some parts of the country, babies killed as part of witchcraft
rituals are believed to make the charms more powerful, he says.
Human traffickers also put the children up for illegal adoption.
Poor, unmarried women face tough choices if they get pregnant in
Nigeria, often facing exclusion from society, correspondents say.
Natip says desperate teenagers with unplanned pregnancies are sometimes
lured to clinics and then forced to turn over their babies.
Some of the girls rescued in Aba told the police that after their
new-born babies were sold, they were given $170 by the hospital owner.
The police said the proprietor of The Cross Foundation, Dr Hyacinth
Orikara, is likely to face charges of child abuse and human trafficking.
Our correspondent says the buying or selling of babies is illegal in
Nigeria and can carry a 14-year jail term.
The police carried out similar raids on such clinics in neighbouring
Enugu state in 2008.
Three years ago, a Nigerian woman was jailed in the UK for trying to
smuggle a baby into the country in order to get on the list for a
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