SALE of babies has been going on for a while. Teenage girls with unwanted pregnancies give out the children, for adoption, usually to couples who want them. Such couples get the children at agreed terms.
With time, these practices have become blooming businesses. Entrepreneurs discovered that babies were in higher demands than earlier arrangements could accommodate. They set up factories where young girls and virile young men are the raw materials. Their products, babies, like other merchandise, are sold to markets where they are in high demand.
If we were not talking of human trafficking and slavery, it would have been a business on its way to the stock exchange. There are no statistics on the number of babies sold, nor the young men and women entangled in this web that some easily excuse with poverty.
What else would we accept because of poverty? Has poverty become a reason to break the law wantonly? Has society considered the consequences of these illegal businesses that have extended to child theft for the same purposes?
The baby factory phenomenon is the perverse commercialisation of human newborns in the manner of economic animals such as chicken, pigs, and cows. Some parents are known to have sold their children to raise money to solve pressing personal problems. Some of these babies end up as adopted children of childless people in a society where childlessness is stigmatised. The less fortunate ones are rented to beggars or are used for rituals.
The upsurge in this wicked crime is a total negation of cherished Africa values which emphatically declare that children are above material valuation. This is emphasised by the practice of giving children such names as Nwakaego, Omoboriowo and others, which indicate that a child is more valuable than money.
This shameful slur on our society is worse than slave trade because the infants and their helpless mothers are being dehumanised by avaricious adults whose duty it is to offer them protection and careful grooming. Nigerian citizens, with constitutionally guaranteed rights to life, freedom and dignity of the human person are sold off as merchandise. Society watches, the law waffles, and daily new “factories” are discovered.
The “baby factory” phenomenon has joined kidnapping, armed robbery, ritual killing and terrorism as rising crimes that lean on technology. Contacts and sales are made on telephone and money transferred, these provide trails that can help in apprehending the criminals.
Governments must close ranks with communities, the law enforcement agencies, religious organisations, civil society groups and the public to bring the perpetrators of this devilry to justice.
Our adoption laws are overdue for review. Genuine adoptions should be facilitated to stop this crime.