By Huihua Nui
On 19 September the police in Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria, received reports from residents.
It is said that a lot of pregnant women were suddenly on the streets of an area.
After receiving the case, the police conducted a survey and raided four houses and saved 19 women and 4 babies. What the police captured was a notorious ‘baby factory’.
The ‘baby factory’, as its name suggests, produces babies, by persuading women to conceive and give birth, and then selling the babies for profit.
Among those recused was a teenager aged 15 and a day year old baby.
The women were forced to stay in the factory and became child machines until they were allowed to leave. As for how to get to the ‘baby factory,’ how they were forced to stay, each of them had a different experience.
However, a few women voluntarily joined the ‘baby factory’ in order to make money, but most were threatened, deceived, or even kidnapped and taken to the ‘factory.’
Some of the victims were unmarried mother-to-be. In Nigeria, women who were unmarried were subject to discrimination and were even driven out of their homes and were told that the ‘factory’ could provide accommodation and medical care once they had given birth.
What actually happened was once the baby was born, they would buy the baby, as a way to solve the mother’s problems. Some of these mothers had no choice and then followed them to the ‘baby factory.’
Other victims were misled the idea of working in the big city to give their babies hope these women then fled their hometown’s to Lagos. Then they were persuaded or kidnapped by the ‘baby factory.’
Whatever the reason for coming to the ‘baby factory,’ these women faced life that was controlled and forced to have children.
A victim revealed her experience in an interview where she had ‘borrowed money to come to Lagos to prepare as a babysitter then when she arrived at the bus station, she was taken away and her contact cut from the outside world.
She was then forced into prostitution and before she became pregnant, she had received seven customers.
When she became pregnant, she was taken to another stronghold, and was told her that if she could give birth to this child, she would get a ‘great reward’ and only if the child was born, she might be able to leave.
Other women had similar experiences. After being raped and pregnant, one person would pretend to be a nursing staff to closely monitor their every move to prevent them from escaping until they give birth.
When a baby was born, it would be sold at different prices according to gender. A boy was 500,000 naira (£1,121), and a girl was 300,000 naira (£672).
All women who were rescued in the police operation are receiving rehabilitation before being resettled.
Happiness Ukwuoma, 40, and Sherifat Ipeya, 54, the organizers of the ‘factory,’ were arrested and are currently in police custody.