Baby Farming in Nigeria; Bride Trafficking To China

Babies for Sale

Baby Farming in Nigeria

Thirty-two girls between 15 and 18 years old were arrested during the raid of an illegal clinic in Aba in Abia stateSaturday, the state police chief said Thursday. Police believe the children were destined to be trafficked in Africa’s most populous country.

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

The girls were first taken to a police station, and then to a shelter in the city of Enugu run by the anti-trafficking agency for interrogation. Authorities said they suspect most of the girls were impregnated by boyfriends, but said they are also investigating the possibility that some were forced or tricked into having babies. “There is an increasing market,” says Orakwe. “We found out that some homes get a person to impregnate a girl, take away their supposed burden and then give them peanuts.”

Bride Trafficking to China;

Thazin* was trafficked to China from Yangonand forced into marriage in 2008. Now 29 and back in Yangon, she spoke about her ordeal, that one day she drank a cup of coffee spiked by an acquaintance, woke up in China and was soon married against her will.

Traffic Flow

In 2010, the authorities recorded 122 cases of forced marriage, up from 104 in 2009, Myanmar‘s Ministry of Home Affairs reported. For more than a decade, Burmese women have been trafficked across the 2,000km border to marry men who are unable to afford the dowry required by a Chinese bride. Chinese husbands-to-be pay upwards of US$8,000 to arrange these marriages, many believing their bride is willing. On the other hand, Burmese parents, looking for a better life for their children and themselves, accept as little as $1,000 for their daughters. It is a local custom and some think cross-border marriage is normal. With education programmes, they begin to realize this is against the law, and they begin to think ‘We are putting our girls in a high risk position’. But bride trafficking will continue for as long as people are poor, she added.

Action taken
According to Save the Children, which has been working on this issue along the China-Myanmar border since 2002, trafficking for the purposes of forced marriage has increasingly been in the spotlight since 2006.  China and Myanmar now consider such arranged marriages to be human trafficking, and in 2009 they signed a comprehensive trafficking memorandum of

Sting operations as well as education about the dangers of falling into a recruiter’s trap have made these arrests possible, said a senior official from Myanmar’s Central Body for the Suppression of Trafficking in Persons, who spoke on condition of anonymity.  The 176-strong Trafficking Task Force, trained by the Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons
 and funded by the Australian Agency for International Development, has been deployed in 23 locations around Myanmar, including hotspots such as Muse, a border town, as well as source cities such as Yangon.

Prevention strategies
Special attention is being paid to buses, the main mode of transport used by traffickers. But prevention efforts are still the primary need, said David Brickey Bloomer, child protection director with Save the Children UK in Myanmar. “Anti-Trafficking work in Myanmar is primarily focused on rehabilitation and reintegration; there needs to be a greater commitment on the part of all towards more prevention strategies which are inherently sustainable,” he said.  Instead of helping, Thazin’s brother said the police in Yangon demanded $600 as a bribe before they would search for her. He was unable to afford this sum, so Thazin remained a captive of her “husband” – until she could take no more and managed to escape.  “I even tore off my clothes. I was running naked,” she said, until she reached a bus station near the border where people clothed her and returned her to Myanmar.

The woman who gave Thazin to the traffickers is serving a three-year prison term; it is not known if the traffickers have been found.

The 2010 report acknowledged the work done against international trafficking, but condemned Myanmar for continued in-country forced labour. China has been on the Tier 2 watch list for the past six years!

There seems to be no end to the trafficking of Babies and Young Girls in many countries, where poverty is at the fore-front, and modern society has so much tolerance and greed!