Things We Can All Agree Are Wrong: Nigerian Baby-Trafficking Ring Uncovered

It’s a day for a couple of short posts about non-controversial topics.  (And I’ve finally read through all the comments, too.)    A story surfaced this AM about arrests in an investigation of a baby-selling ring in Nigeria.   It’s been in both the US and the UK press.  

It seems that 32 pregnant teenagers were being held in a compound in Nigeria.  When they gave birth, their children were to be sold to baby traffickers.   The New York Times story actually calls it a “baby farm.”   It doesn’t appear that those arrested participated in the process by which the young women became pregnant.   Rather, they preyed on teenagers who were already pregnant, luring them with offers of help with unwanted pregnancies.  

There’s some slight variation in the facts as reported in the different stories but the basic outlines seem pretty clear.    I’m posting this really only to demonstrate that there are points where we all agree.  I feel confident that this is across whatever lines we choose to draw.  

For those who have raised consistent concerns about surrogacy or commodification or ART, that’s not so remarkable.   But I’ve often been a voice for broader freedoms, greater flexibility and autonomy, and in the view of some of you, practices akin to slavery.   I think that makes this story worth noting.    Since I find the events described here appalling, I have to distinguish between them and other practices that I find acceptable.  

I don’t actually consider that much of a challenge.  There are so many things wrong with what was going on here.   But I figured I’d post the links so that you all had this as potential material for later discussions.

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5 responses to “Things We Can All Agree Are Wrong: Nigerian Baby-Trafficking Ring Uncovered

  1. marilynn huff

    I commented on Family scholars that none of the articles refers to them as expectant mothers or mothers. There is a point when “pregnant teenager” really does not do the situation justice anymore, if she’s not going to terminate the pregnancy she is about to be responsible for a reproduction of herself she’s earned the title and needs that kind of authority to make decisions and take care of her baby. Its really disturbing to me that the articals don’t treat this as a bunch of kids kidnapped from their mothers and a bunch more cued up to be kidnapped from expectant mothers once they are born.

    Oi Vey

    • That’s an interesting language point. I think I tend to avoid the phrase “expectant mothers” for some of the same reasons I tend to shy away from phrases like “biological fathers” and the like. The word “mother” is a powerful one, even modified. They aren’t mothers yet–though they are clearly closer to being mothers than a non-pregnant but fertile woman is. I think I’m shy because of all the politics around abortion–the more mother-like these women are, the more child-like the developing fetus, the more powerful the argument for restrictions on abortion. See http://www.npr.org/2011/06/01/136850622/abortion-foes-push-to-redefine-personhood?ps=cprs. The concern may be unwarranted, but I still shy away from that language.

  2. they’re children were kidnapped. Did you miss that?

  3. their children

    • I was thinking about the young women who were pregnant. The plan might well have been to take the children when they were born, but they hadn’t been taken yet, so I don’t think of it as kidnapping.

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