Police have rescued six women and four children from a “baby-making” factory after raiding the unlawful premises in the Mowe area of Ogun, a state in southwestern Nigeria. The women told police they had been forcibly detained and raped before their newborn children were illegally sold on the black market.
Children born in so-called baby factories are typically put up for adoption, forced into child labour, trafficked into sex work, or even killed as part of rituals. One of the enslaved women told reporters newborn boys were sold for 250,000 Nigerian naira (£491) and girls are sold for 200,000 naira (£393).
Tsitsi Matekaire, at Equality Now, a non-government organisation which promotes the rights of women and girls, told The Independent so-called baby factories have been operating in Nigeria for many years. The campaigner added: “As far back as 2006, UNESCO reported the first cases. This phenomenon is prevalent in many parts of Nigeria and has been previously reported in the states of Abia, Lagos and Ebonyi. The ‘baby factories’ are often disguised as orphanages, maternity homes, or religious centres, and involve large networks of operators. There is no doubt that this is a form of sexual exploitation and abuse." Matekaire went on to explain, “The victims are extremely vulnerable women and girls, who are trafficked or coerced to these places. They are held against their will, raped, forced to carry pregnancies and then have their babies sold to profit their exploiters.”
She said Equality Now and local women’s organisations in Nigeria flagged this issue to the government and the African Union Committee on the Rights and Welfare of Children back in 2019.