Child trafficking: Mother sells baby to settle bank loan

A mother in Ogun State has been arrested for allegedly selling her 18-month-old baby for N600,000 to pay off a loan she obtained from a microfinance bank.

Spokesman of the Ogun State Police Command Abimbola Oyeyemi, in a statement on Monday, April 17, revealed that the buyer, who is yet to be identified, purchased the baby in Lagos.

The suspect, identified as Olaide Adekunle, was apprehended following a report at the Sango Divisional Police headquarters by her husband, Nureni Rasaq.

According to Rasaq, his wife left their home for Lagos in March with their baby girl, Moridiat Rasaq, but returned without the child.

He said that all attempts to get information about the baby’s whereabouts from his wife proved futile.

Oyeyemi said the DPO Sango Division, Dahiru Saleh, immediately detailed his detectives to arrest the suspect.

He said during the interrogation, the suspect confessed to have sold the baby for N600,000.

“On interrogation, the suspect confessed that she has sold the baby to someone in Lagos at the rate of six hundred thousand naira (N600,000),” he said.

“When asked the reason for her action, she stated that she borrowed money from a microfinance bank, and when she was unable to pay back the money, the bank agents started dragging her and threatening to deal decisively with her. It was consequence upon this that she ran to Lagos and started hawking sachet water.

“It was while hawking that she met a man who introduced her to the woman that eventually bought the child in Lagos.”

Oyeyemi disclosed that the acting Commissioner of Police, Babakura Muhammed, has directed that the suspect be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department for further investigation and possible recovery of the baby.

He said the identity of the buyer is still unknown, and the police are actively searching for her.

Child trafficking is a significant problem in Nigeria, with many young children sold into forced labor, prostitution, and other forms of exploitation.

A 2020 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) noted that Nigeria is a major source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking.

The report stated that “the most prevalent form of human trafficking in Nigeria is forced labor, which accounts for approximately 70% of cases detected in 2018”.

The sale of children is also a common practice in some parts of Nigeria, where people often buy children as domestic servants or to work on farms and homes.

Also, some childless couples buy children, rather than going through legal adoption processes, which are seen as cumbersome. Some suspects arrested for engaging in child buying claim ignorance of the country’s adoption laws.



    However, such transactions are illegal under Nigerian law, and offenders face up to 14 years in prison.

    The Nigerian government has taken steps to address the issue, including the establishment of a National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the adoption of anti-trafficking laws.

    Despite these efforts, child trafficking remains prevalent, with poverty and lack of education often cited as the primary reasons for the crime.

    To tackle the issue, experts suggest that there needs to be a comprehensive approach that involves addressing poverty, improving education, and increasing awareness about the dangers of child trafficking.

    You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

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