The police in Rivers State, South-south Nigeria, said they have rescued 12 victims of child trafficking during a sting operation on two suspected “baby factories” in the state.
The police spokesperson, Grace Iringe-Koko, made it known during a press statement in Port Harcourt on Tuesday that the police also arrested four suspected operators of the “baby factories”.
She said the victims, consisting of two adult males and 10 pregnant women, including teenagers, were forcefully kept in the factories after they were brainwashed by the operators.
She said “On January 7, at about 4:45 p.m., we received credible intelligence on the activities of a child trafficking ring in Igwuruta and Omagwa communities in Rivers.
“Upon receipt of the intelligence, the command’s C41 Intelligence Unit operatives raided two houses (factories) at Igwuruta and Omagwa communities where victims of child trafficking were kept.
“In the operations, four suspected operators of the factories, including two men and two women were arrested by our operatives,” she said.
Ms Iringe-Koko, a superintendent of police, who revealed the identities of the victims and suspects, said the suspected traffickers were led by a 40-year-old woman from Igwuruta community in the state.
According to her, the pregnant victims were aged between 15 and 29 at the time of their rescue.
“Investigation reveals that when the victims are delivered of their pregnancies, the syndicate leader takes the babies and pays the victims N500,000.
“All the victims confessed that they were lured into the illegal sale of their children because they were promised money to meet their financial challenges.
“The case has been transferred to the command’s Criminal Investigation Department while efforts are ongoing to track and arrest those who had already bought children from the factories,” she added.
The command spokesperson said a Honda Pilot SUV with registration number: Lagos FST 607 AX was recovered from the leader of the syndicate.