Nigerian 'Baby Farm' Girls Rescued

Infants were allegedly sold for ritual-witchcraft purposes or adoption. 

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nigeria

If Beyoncé had you convinced that girls "run the world," you just might have a change of mind in light of this disturbing story. The BBC reports that Nigerian police have raided a hospital in the southeastern city of Aba, rescuing 32 pregnant girls allegedly held by a human-trafficking ring.

The girls were between 15 and 17 years old. Abia state's police chief says that they were used to produce babies that were sold for ritual-witchcraft purposes or adoption. Dr. Hyacinth Orikara, the owner of the Cross Foundation hospital, denies this, insisting that he was running a foundation to help teenagers with unwanted pregnancies, not a "baby farm."

Abia state Police Commissioner Bala Hassan said that four babies, already sold in an alleged human-trafficking deal but not yet collected, were also recovered in the raid on the hospital. Some of the girls rescued in Aba told the police that after their newborn babies were sold, the hospital owner gave them $170.

UNICEF estimates that at least 10 children are sold daily across Nigeria, where human trafficking is ranked the third-most-common crime after economic fraud and drug trafficking. But the BBC's Fidelis Mbah, in the southern city of Port Harcourt, says that it is very rare for traffickers to be caught and prosecuted. The police said that Orikara is likely to face charges of child abuse and human trafficking.

According to the BBC, the buying or selling of babies is illegal in Nigeria and can carry a 14-year jail term. It's great news that he was caught and charged, but only 14 years? For this horrific crime -- selling newborns to the highest bidder, possibly to be killed -- we'd like to see a zero tacked on to the end of that sentence. 

Read more at the BBC.

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