Monday, June 6, 2011

32 Teenagers on trial for planning to sell babies

Dozens of pregnant teenagers in Abia State could face charges after being accused of planning to sell their babies into a growing child trafficking trade in the state and most parts of the South-east, the state police has said.

The pregnant teenagers - 32 girls aged between 15 and 18 years - were arrested during the raid of an illegal clinic in Aba in Abia State last week.

The girls were taken at the Cross Foundation, locally known as Heda Clinic. The clinic's director was also arrested. The police accused him of buying the babies from the young mothers and selling them for a generous profit to childless couples.

He denied the charge, and said he was a volunteer doctor who delivers the unwanted babies and then places them in orphanages.

"One of the girls told us that mothers sell their babies for $160 to $190," Abia State police chief Bala Hassan told The Associated Press.

They can then be resold for up to $6,400, depending on their gender. Traditionally, boys are preferred, as they can inherit land according to the local Igbo culture, said Arinze Orakwe, spokesman of the National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons.

"This girl already feels that she has brought a burden onto her family and onto herself, and she wants to get it over with," added Orakwe.

Child trafficking carries a penalty of 14 years to life imprisonment.

This Day

Related stories: Poverty blamed for child trafficking 

 Child trafficking - Nation to strengthen collaboration with ILO 

Nigeria is the largest African source of  trafficked women to Europe and Asia

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