"Do you want the baby with or without the placenta?" The woman who calls herself “Mama” looks at us and clairifies whether we want a “fresh” baby.
We meet her in the dark and simple office of her half-burned baby factory. She thinks we want to buy a baby, but in fact we are carrying a hidden camera.
Every year, the Nigerian police discover several new baby factories. Women are held captive to give birth to babies destined to be sold illegally either to adoptive parents, rituals, or slavery. Large parts of the trade are conducted locally in Nigeria, but the police suspect that children also have been sold to Europe and the USA.
Nevertheless, many countries continue to adopt children from Nigeria. Since 2008, at least 78 Nigerian adoptions have occurred in Sweden, according to statistics from Adoptionscentrum. These children have special needs and are most probably not from the baby factories, but the phenomenon is well known. International adoption agencies claim that the children, their parents and the entire adoption process is overseen by the Nigerian government. But in Nigeria there are no such guaranties.
Today, in an exclusive story, Expressen reveals how the baby-trafficking from Nigeria works.
With a hidden camera, we have infiltrated several of the baby factories in southern Nigeria. To get access to the factories, we claimed to be interested in buying a child and that we wanted to meet the pregnant women in order to choose the mother of our baby, and also that we were from an organization called Home of Hope that wanted to have future business relations with the baby factories.
It takes us just three days to establish contact with several agents that are part of the baby trafficking networks. They claim to be able to get us babies by the following day. One of the agents mentions that an infant, due to be born in a couple of days, is meant to go to a couple in Spain but could be ours since we are on location.
“They won’t notice if they get another baby,” says Frank, the agent that we meet in the city of Umuahia.
“Do you want a girl or a boy? Twins perhaps?”
We say that we want to go to the factories, see the women, and then decide if we want to go through with the deal.
“Oh, that is hard. There has been a lot of trouble with the police and the women are hidden. But we give them food, shelter and sleep with them so they keep calm. I’m a father to many of the sold children, haha. But I’m going to try to solve this.”
The next day we meet up with another agent in the city of Aba. She knows of many baby factories and immediately gives us the addresses.
The first baby factory we visit is situated in a small village, an hour outside of Aba. It’s hot and we’re nervous. We are on our way to meet people who are willing to sell children for money, in other words hardened criminals. We are worried that they are going to discover the hidden camera or not believe our cover-story about Home of Hope. We have already decided it is worth the risk. The tall gate is locked when we arrive. We park the car close to the wall to ensure an escape route if we are caught. Finally a guard opens the gate. Almost all buildings are burnt to the ground and two Volvos have been scrapped in the yard. Over the car doors small children’s shirts are hung to dry. Behind one of the burnt down walls we can spot a couple of mattresses and a fire with a pot hanging over it. A couple of minutes later we see the first pregnant woman. After a short period of time we have counted five pregnant women pacing back and forth.
An older woman enters through the gate. She introduces herself as “Mama” and asks us to follow her to the office. We explain our business. She lights up when we start talking business and dollars.
“I have five women here but 35 in another house in Umuahia. You can go there and see. But we have to talk to my son ‘cause we run this together,” she says.
She tells us that she charges 4000 dollar for a girl and 4400 dollar for a boy.
“I give the girls food and shelter and help them with their physical exams. The same day they give birth they go away, she says.”
She claims to be able to get children of all ages and genders and at any time. She can also arrange court orders and deal with the police.
“I delivered three babies yesterday and they have already been picked up by Nigerians.”
A hidden camera investigation into the world of baby factories in South-Eastern Nigeria.