Nineteen pregnant women, who had been forced into sex slavery, were freed from ‘baby factories’ in Nigeria by local police. One victim stated, “I have slept with seven different men before I discovered I was pregnant.”
Police say the young women, who ranged in age from 15 to 28, had been abducted, raped and impregnated so their babies could later be sold. The women, who been promised domestic work in Lagos, Nigeria's largest city, were instead held against their will and forced into sex slavery.
Police officers, who had received an anonymous tip, raided four properties across the city on September 19, rescuing nineteen women and four children. The woman who ran the operation, known as Madam Oluchi, managed to flee shortly before the raid. She is suspected of trafficking girls from south east Nigeria to Lagos. A police spokesperson said officers had arrested two other women, who were employed as nurses at the ‘baby factories’ despite having no medical training. The suspects were listed as Happiness Ukwuoma and Sherifat Ipeya.
Nineteen pregnant teens and women were rescued as Nigerian police busted a suspected child trafficking ring planning to sell babies, a police spokesman told CNN on Monday. The victims ranged in age from 15 to 28. https://t.co/HDDRFKF29Z— CNN (@CNN) September 30, 2019
Police reported that the young women had been mostly abducted by the two suspects. After the girls had given birth, their babies were transferred to another property, where they were sold to buyers. Oluchi is suspected of selling boys for 500,000 naira (£1,121) and girls for 300,000 naira (£672). A manhunt has been launched by police for the suspect, who is also a mother-of-five. A police spokesperson said authorities are currently working to resettle the victims.
“My friend... called me to say that someone was looking for house help. I borrowed money to come to Lagos,” one of the rescued women said, according to Vanguard. “One woman came to pick me at the park and brought me here. The next day, I was summoned by our madam, who told me that I would not leave the premises until next year.”
“Being a newcomer, my customers only came at night to have sex with me,” the victim added. “So far, I have slept with seven different men before I discovered I was pregnant. I was told that after delivery, I would be paid handsomely and that if I decided to leave after then, I could. My pregnancy is in its second trimester.”
19 pregnant women have been freed from “baby factories” in Nigeria.— BBC News Africa (@BBCAfrica) October 1, 2019
Most of the women had been abducted "for the purpose of getting them pregnant and selling the babies", a police statement said. pic.twitter.com/Z97RtJRB79
This is not the first ‘baby factory’ raid in Nigeria. Last year, more than 160 children were rescued from a property and two unregistered orphanages in Lagos. Some of the infants and children had been sexually abused, according to police. In some cases, unmarried pregnant women have been promised healthcare, only for their children to be stolen from them. In others, women are raped and impregnated. The children are often sold for adoption, used for child labor, trafficked to Europe for prostitution or killed for ritual purposes.
Also, in 2013, 17 pregnant teenagers and 11 babies were rescued from a house in south-eastern Imo state. The girls said they had all been raped by the same man, and in 2012, a UK judge raised concerns about "desperate childless parents" being involved in baby-selling scams in Nigeria. Some women had traveled to Nigeria for fertility treatment and were then sold unwanted babies, the judge said.