Teenage mothers were allegedly forced to give up newborns for adoption and witchcraft
Nigerian police have raided an alleged "baby farm" where teenage mothers were forced to give up their newborns for sale to human traffickers.
The girls, mostly of school age, were allegedly locked up at the Cross Foundation clinic so they could produce babies to be sold for illegal adoption or for use in ritual witchcraft.
Bala Hassan, the Abia state police commissioner, said: "We stormed the premises of the Cross Foundation in Aba three days ago following a report that pregnant girls aged between 15 and 17 are being made to make babies for the proprietor.
"We rescued 32 pregnant girls and arrested the proprietor, who is undergoing interrogation over allegations that he normally sells the babies to people who may use them for rituals or other purposes."
Hassan added that four babies, already sold in an alleged deal but not yet collected, were also recovered in the raid.
Estimates of the girls' ages varied. Geoffrey Ogbonna, another police spokesman, was quoted by CNN: "There are about 30 pregnant young ladies; the eldest was 20 years old. Some belong in secondary, even in primary school."
Dr Hyacinth Orikara, proprietor of the Cross Foundation, is likely to face charges of child abuse and human trafficking, police said. Buying or selling babies can carry a 14-year jail sentence.
Babies are sold for up to $6,400 each, depending on the sex.
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