Ending the baby factory menace

Adewale  Kupoluyi

What has now become a public issue is the sale of babies – menace which may have been going on for some time – as teenage girls become victims of unwanted pregnancies and the children produced are sold out for adoption to needy couples who badly want.
At the baby making factory, young girls are encouraged or forced to become pregnant and after they have given birth, the newborn babies are be sold out, usually N500,000 or more, depending  on the sex of the child. Who then are those patronizing the baby factory? The answer is simple – it is either parents who badly need children or the people that may require human parts for mischievous reasons. In many African countries, a couple’s inability to give birth to children few years after marriage is often frowned at by family members.
This social problem will continue to fester unless drastic steps are taken to address the contending issues surrounding the spread of baby factories. To begin with, our adoption laws should be reviewed without further delay as this will give those who sought after having children – when they cannot produce biologically – the clean option.

Apart from the fact that married people still contend with the challenge of covering up the tracks of the origin of the children who should necessarily be integrated into the family. Also, some of these establishments and government institutions reel-out age limits for the needy couples and for those that are more than 50 years, their applications may not be treated at all. Another obstacle is that the adopting couples are usually inundated with rigorous demands by child-adoption agencies. Again, official adoption procedure that is managed by state governments, are excessively bureaucratic such that the adoptive parents are expected to meet and fulfil the basic rights and duties of the adopted child. And in the process of disbursing of wills and settlements, the adopted child must be treated as a lawful child of the adoptive parents, the same way as the biological child and not as a stranger.

Another factor that still encourages the booming trade, is the huge cost required in seeking medical assistance to have children. Whereas there is great advancement in medical sciences for barren couples to be assisted through the In Vitro Fertilization process, the IVF process is usually out of reach of the ordinary. Going by the prevailing economic situation, it is a bitter truth that only a few couple could afford the cost, which is not less than N1million per attempt. Government should seek ways of helping couples.

Another point of concern is the need for effective monitoring of several organizations that engage in nefarious activities that are largely unknown to the government. To my surprise, virtually all the organizations involved in the baby factory saga claimed to be duly registered. More importantly, not many culprits have been caught and punished. We only get to read about what transpired without any mention of what sanctions were meted-out to the offenders. What resultant effect of such double standards is that some of these suspects will continue to compromise the system and escape from punishment, meaning that there is not much deterrence to the crime.

There is also the need for government to liberalize the education of the girl-child. More access should be accorded the females to get sound education; baby factories would be starved of willing girls who readily donate their wombs at ridiculous fees.
Going further, whenever children victims are taken from the villages to urban areas to serve as house helps, the intervention of government agencies like the police and National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic Persons (NANTIP) may still not liberate the unlucky girls totally from the jaws of their abductors as their family members become the next targets because these traffickers will never stop extorting money from them. The reason is that the victims themselves pose a greatest challenge as those that had earlier been recruited are allegedly made to go through a process of oath-taking of secrecy.

In most cases, they were found to have suffered severe humiliation, physical and psychological trauma, making it extremely difficult for them to open-up when let off the hook. Efforts should be intensified to rehabilitate rescued girls back to normal life. On a final note, a total eradication of this menace requires a holistic approach and collective determination by all and sundry. Law enforcement agencies should be more proactive, societal discrimination against the girl-child should be put to an end while there should be complete attitudinal rejuvenation that cherishes life and dignity of human person.

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