Lagos - Nigerian police said on Wednesday that they raided a home and freed 16 pregnant girls and young women allegedly being forced to have babies to be sold.
"We carried out a raid on a residence in
Owerri following an intelligence report and rescued 16 expectant
mothers," Imo State police spokesperson Joy Elomoko told AFP.
"The girls were between 14 and 19 years old and in different stages of pregnancy."
male owner of the home, who was arrested, had registered it as a
non-governmental organisation promoting women's and children's issues,
An unlicensed automatic pump action shotgun was also recovered during the raid.
said the rescued women and girls told officers that they were each
offered 100 000 naira ($632) to sell their babies after delivery.
An investigation was also underway over a case of a missing baby from the illegal home.
Sold into prostitution
found out that the suspect could not explain the whereabouts of a baby
that was recently delivered in the home," the spokesperson said.
are suspecting that the baby might have been sold for [black magic]
rituals," she said, adding that the suspect would be taken to court
after police investigation.
Nigerian security agents have
uncovered a series of alleged baby factories in recent years, notably in
the south-eastern part of the country.
Last month, six pregnant teenage girls were freed in a raid on an illegal clinic in the oil city of Port Harcourt.
trafficking is widespread in west Africa, where children are bought
from their families to work in plantations, mines and factories or as
Others are sold into prostitution, and less commonly they are tortured or sacrificed in black magic rituals.