The women, many of whom had been abducted, were forced to give birth to babies that would be sold to childless families, used for labor, trafficked to Europe for prostitution, or used in religious rituals.
Nigerian news outlet Vanguard reported that 19 women and girls were rescued on September 19. They had arrived in Lagos expecting employment, but were abducted and forced into prostitution.
The women and girls, aged between 15 and 28, were raped until they became pregnant.
Their babies were to be sold: Males would be sold for $1,400 and females for $830.
The whereabouts of several trafficked babies were traced to Lagos residences and rescued on September 28. At the time of writing, four have been recovered.
Two women who had posed as nurses were arrested in the raid, while the head of the operation fled the scene.
Nigerian police stated that the rescued women, girls, and babies have been rehoused and are being rehabilitated.
“Baby factories” are unfortunately not unheard of in Nigeria, where some see children as a commodity.
In April 2018, more than 160 children were rescued from a similar operation in Lagos. Some had been sexually abused.
In 2013, police rescued 17 pregnant teenagers that had been impregnated by one man. 11 babies were also recovered.
“Local newspapers sometimes report the discovery of corpses of children abandoned in bushes or highways with their vital organs missing,” the BBC reported in 2013. “Fresh placentas and aborted foetuses are also known to be up for sale.”
During the 2013 crackdown on “baby factories,” the local government of Imo in south east Nigeria revoked all licenses of the state’s orphanages and foster homes. What followed was a rigorous accreditation process which aimed to distinguish “baby factories” from legitimate shelters and fostering centers.
Unfortunately, some “baby factories” continue to operate, and vulnerable populations in Nigeria are still victimized by a high demand for children.