The police in Lagos announced Monday have rescued a 19 pregnant girls , aged 15 and 28 , in a “baby factory” to be sold in Nigeria, a country where they operate major networks trafficking in human beings.
“We were informed of the activities of certain individuals who held pregnant women and babies to sell them after delivery,” said Lagos State Police spokesman Bala Elkana.
“After investigating it, we were able to rescue 19 pregnant women (between 15 and 28 years old) and four babies,” he said.
“Some of them were deceived, they thought they were coming to Lagos to find a job and they were trapped,” he said.
Other women, however, “knew perfectly what they came to do” and hoped to earn money, he added.
The babies were sold for 300 thousand nairas (760 euros, 820 dollars) if they were girls and for 500 thousand (thousand 265 euros, thousand 370 dollars) if they were boys.
The police operation, carried out on September 19, was carried out in four different places, three residential houses and a hotel in Isheri Osun, on the outskirts of the economic capital where 20 million people live.
The police spokesman said that two suspects were already arrested and that a third party was sought, who managed to escape.
“We have not yet established who or for what purpose they were sold (newborns),” said Elkana.
Trafficking in human beings, which includes the sale of children, is the third most committed crime in Nigeria, after fraud and drug trafficking, according to the United Nations.
Although Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer, poverty is hitting the country hard, and the majority of the population of 190 million people lives on less than two dollars a day.
Trafficking in human beings is especially implemented in the southeast of the country, where several illegal maternity units have been discovered in recent years.
In some cases, young women came to these centers to escape criticism for pregnancies outside of marriage. These women received a portion of the money obtained from the sale of their baby.
There were also cases of women who were kidnapped by human traffickers, who forced them to become pregnant.
People who buy these newborns are usually couples with resources that cannot have children.