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Nigeria Police Break Suspected Baby-trafficking Ring




Police in
Nigeria have arrested a doctor and 32 pregnant teenage girls who authorities
believe belonged to a human-trafficking ring in which babies were sold for
adoption or for rituals.

Hyacinth Orikara, a doctor at the
Heda clinic in Aba in the southeastern state of Abia, was arrested along with
the girls during a raid last weekend which followed a tip-off that infants were
being "farmed" and sold, police said on Thursday.

"He was arrested along with 32
pregnant teenage girls found in his clinic," Abia police spokesman
Geoffery Ogbonna said.

Orikara told police the clinic was
an adoption agency meant to help teenagers with unwanted pregnancies and that
the babies were usually handed over to the social welfare office. But police
said he could not mention any specific office.

The girls, aged between 15 and 17,
told police they were offered between 25,000 and 30,000 naira ($160-190) for
their babies, depending on the sex. Some said they were directed to the clinic
by friends who had been there before.

Police said the 33 suspects would
either be charged on Friday or handed over to the National Agency for the
Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) for further investigations.

Officials say infants are sometimes
sold for as much as 340,000 naira to people desperate for babies. Many in
Africas most populous country see childlessness as a curse.

Authorities also suspect some people
buy babies to use their body parts in rituals by witch doctors who they believe
can make them instant millionaires. Others have been trafficked to Europe --
especially the United Kingdom -- where they are used in welfare fraud schemes,
rights groups say.

Despite being the worlds
eighth-biggest crude oil exporter, most people in Nigeria live on less than $2
a day. Apart from illegal adoption agencies, Nigeria also faces the problem of
domestic and international trafficking in women and children.

The police in 2008 broke a major
baby trafficking ring and arrested a doctor who was believed to have been
buying infants from pregnant girls and selling them at a profit for more than

Product Id: 100091
Posted By: Mukhobeh Moses Khaukha
Country: Nigeria
Category: Business
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