Nigerian Police Rescue 32 Pregnant Girls and 4 Newborns in “Baby Farm” Raid; Children were Sold for Witchcraft Rituals & Illegal Adoptions
Police in Nigeria have raided an alleged “baby farm” where pregnant teenagers were forced to surrender their newborn babies for sale to human traffickers who then sold them to adoptive parents or to be killed in witchcraft rituals, the Guardian reports.
Police rescued 32 pregnant girls and four newborn babies from the Cross Foundation maternity clinic, owned by Dr. Hyacinth Orikara, in the southern city of Aba. The rescued babies have been placed in the custody of social welfare services who will put them up for adoption.
Police spokesman Geoffrey Ogbonna told CNN that “there are about 30 pregnant young ladies; the eldest was 20 years old. Some belong in secondary, even in primary school.”
The girls were imprisoned at Cross Foundation so they could give birth to babies who were then sold to human traffickers and re-sold for illegal adoptions and for use in witchcraft rituals. Those sold for ritual sacrifice are almost always killed; they are believed to have magical properties by those who practice witchcraft.
While the mothers received about $192 for newborn boys and $161 for girls, babies are sold for up to $6,400 each on the black market. According to the Guardian, human trafficking is the third most common crime in Nigeria after financial fraud and drug trafficking. The United Nations says at least 10 children are sold each and every day in the impoverished African nation of 155 million people.
Dr. Orikara, an employee of the Abia state health management board, claims Cross Foundation is nothing more than a home for girls dealing with unwanted pregnancies. She will now probably face charges of child abuse and human trafficking. Although trafficking in babies carries up to a 14-year prison sentence under Nigerian law, traffickers are rarely caught.
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