A recent investigative documentary, released by Al Jazeera English, reveals the horrors of Nigerian “baby farms” and child harvesting. Child harvesting refers to the practice of the illegal sale of children, usually to childless couples.
The practice thrives in Nigeria due to the twin factors of the illegality of abortion, except for the most extreme medical emergency, and the stigma childless couples face.
Young pregnant women often have little choice but to give up their children for adoption as they usually lack the financial means to care for their offspring. Women who cannot conceive are sometimes believed to be the victims of “witchcraft” and can be left for more fertile women by their husbands.
The documentary revealed how amoral orphanages and medical professionals take advantage of both desperate young pregnant women and childless couples. Orphanages will often sell the children of young pregnant women to couples experiencing difficulties with procreation. Male children can fetch up to $5,000 while female children can cost $5,000.
Sometimes unscrupulous medical professionals will capture young women, and then repeatedly impregnate them in order to supply orphanages with fresh “product”. This horrifying occurrence is referred to as a “baby farm” in the documentary.
The Nigerian authorities repeatedly raid these “baby farms” but the immense profits to be earned from child trafficking mean that the phenomenon is incredibly difficult to stamp out.