Known as a ‘baby factory,’ 19 women and girls were freed by Nigerian police in Lagos, the biggest city in Nigeria, where most of them were captured and impregnated with plans to sell their babies. Ranging from ages 15-28, these women and girls were brought from all over Nigeria with the promise of jobs. Four babies were also found on the premises
“The young women were mostly abducted by the suspects for the purpose of getting them pregnant and selling the babies to potential buyers. The girls were tricked with employment as domestic staff in Lagos,” said Lagos police spokesman Bala Elkana.
Courtesy: BBC NEWS
‘Baby factories’ are not uncommon in Eastern Nigeria. There have been various raids in the past, including one last year when 160 children were rescued. Boys are sold for 500,000 Nigerian Naira which is $1,630 in U.S dollars and girls for 300,000 Naira which equals to $980 USD.
The raid which took place on Sep.19 was kept under wraps to allow police to apprehend suspects. Two women aged 40 and 54 were arrested in connection with the case and police are still looking for a third.
Earlier this year, Nigeria's National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, found between 20,000 and 45,000 missing kidnapped Nigerian women in southern Mali, many of whom were sold as sex slaves. The women found in Mali were tricked into going to Mali under the impression they were going to get jobs in hotels and some were even taken on their way to school.
Back in 2014, Boko Haram, a terrorist organization, abducted more than 276 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok, Nigeria. The kidnapping transcended Nigeria and caught the world’s attention. Celebrities and powerful leaders joined in on the "Bring Back Our Girls" hashtag to free them, including former US First Lady Michelle Obama.
The campaign helped many girls escape; however, many still remain in captivity to this day. Around 2,000 girls and boys have been abducted by Boko Haram since 2014 and many are used as sex slaves, fighters and even suicide bombers.
Human trafficking is a major problem in Africa's most heavily populated country. According to a 2018 report by the Global Slavery Index, Nigeria ranks number 32 out of 167 of the countries with the highest number of slaves totaling at 1,386,000. The United Nations has criticized Nigeria for failing to tackle human trafficking after a human rights mission found little to no efforts to stop the organized trade in people.
Recently Nigeria has taken some positive steps to address this prevalent issue. The NAPTIP has helped release hundreds of women, boys and girls. The anti-trafficking law has been intensively investigating and prosecuting these perpetrators. Although it isn’t perfect, progress is being made. With little to no media coverage, these frequent cases make it easier for predators to attack, knowing no one is looking for their victims, which leaves Nigerian women, boys and girls even more vulnerable. Using the scarcity of jobs to their advantage, these innocent women were held against their will, raped, and their babies were at risk of being sold. The women and children found in this current raid have now been rehabilitated and are being reunited with family.