Trafficking of babies is increasingly becoming prevalent in the Niger Delta, especially in Rivers, Edo, Delta, Cross River, Imo, and Akwa Ibom states. It has taken various criminal and economic dimensions, involving kidnapping of babies, proliferation of ‘Baby Factories’ and a growing black market for the sale of babies.
Over the years, there has been an increase in ’Baby Factories’ – illegal orphanages, maternity homes, clinics, or buildings – where young girls and women are kept for the purpose of getting them pregnant to produce babies for sale in black markets, mainly for adoption by infertile couples and for ritualistic purposes. According to data (see map below), over 100 child trafficking incidents were reported in the Niger Delta between 2015 and 2019. The trend has become alarming with frequent media reports of mothers selling their babies. On February 5, 2020, for instance, operatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) reportedly arrested two suspects who offered to buy a baby from a pregnant woman for five hundred thousand naira in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital.
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Image Credit: Public Radio International