Myne Whitman: Why Baby Factories will continue to thrive in Nigeria (Y! Superblogger)

Myne Whitman Superblogger

I believe it is only when we begin to speak out and address the above taboos that illegal baby trafficking will reduce.

I started this post when I read news that another “baby factory” has been found in Enugu so soon after a previous one was raided in Imo State. In the news report, it was said that the Nigerian police have “uncovered a series of alleged baby factories in recent years, notably in the southeastern part of the country, but the intended buyers of the children have not been established.”

That last sentence, I think, is at the bottom of why this kind of story will always be in the news. There is a demand for these babies, and in most cases, that demand is ‘kind of’ genuine. Does anyone remember the couple who failed a DNA test ordered by the American embassy in their quest to bring their twins to America after the wife allegedly had them in Nigeria? Yes, those one. Any of us can make a wild guess about where and how they obtained those babies.

So what are the reasons that I think make these “baby factories” so prevalent? And why do I think more will be found?  Below are the core issues, and they are all cultural/traditional taboos or stigmas;

1. Taboo against proper sex education for teenagers

2. Stigma against teenage pregnancy or any pregnancy out of wedlock

3. Stigma against infertility among couples

4. Stigma against babies born outside a marriage

5. Taboo against open and legal adoption

I honestly feel that these taboos/stigmas have no place in a 21st century world. They may have worked in the past where the mass media was a word yet to be coined, or where most women got married before 15, not any more.

Nowadays, sex is on the TV and radio all day and used to sell everything including clothes, paper and pencil for 10-year-olds. Most people get married in their twenties or thirties, and as our lifestyle – food, physical activity, etc has changed so has our physiology. Infertility for both men and women is on the increase. It is time we faced these issues squarely and not keep burying our head in the sand hoping for our religion or bygone culture to save us.

If not, as we hear and thank God for miracle babies, twins, triplets, [and even a woman that had, was it 11 babies in one year?] from couples that have been infertile for years, so also will we keep hearing and damning unscrupulous agents who exploit young girls by promising them free healthcare and money to either get pregnant or give up their babies.

Following fro that, it is obvious that outside of these core issues are poverty and the lack of effective systems in almost all spheres of Nigeria. The health and welfare system is, in my opinion, one of the worst off. So while these must also be tackled at the same time, I believe it is only when we begin to speak out and address the above taboos that illegal baby trafficking will reduce.

Because, that is what this is. Baby factories are an illegal channel to connect two parties who need something. Not that I do not believe that an infertile couple can get pregnant after years of waiting, there are true stories of that happening, but I have also seen enough of the opposite to know that a secret adoption or plain child trafficking is more usually the case.


Myne Whitman [pen name], is the author of bestselling romance novels, A Heart to Mend (2009) and A Love Rekindled (2011). On her award-winning blog Romance Meets Life, Myne shares excerpts of her books, tips on love, life and relationships, and snippets from her personal life.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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