Women Urged to Carry Unwanted Pregnancies so Hospital Can Sell Their Babies

baby feetGreedy people who prey on those in desperate emotional and financial circumstances have, sadly, been around since the beginning of time -- but knowing that doesn't make stories like this one any less shocking: Authorities have busted a hospital in India for acting as a "baby farm," persuading women looking to terminate their pregnancies to instead give birth so that it can sell their babies to childless couples for $1,400 each.

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Arun Bhadoria, manager of the 30-bed Palash Hospital in the Gwailor district of India, was arrested when he was unable to give the whereabouts of two of the infants born in the hospital. Since then, a total of five people have been charged with slavery crimes (but only two of the babies who were sold have been rescued by the police).

Apparently, when a young woman and/or her parents would go to the hospital seeking a termination, doctors would try to convince them to instead carry the baby to term, promising a "safe and secret delivery," according to an investigating officer who spoke with the Times of India

Then, "Once the baby is delivered and the mother gets discharged, hospital authorities start hunting for gullible couples who could buy them."

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It's hard to imagine which group of people is being exploited the most in this situation: the moms, the childless couples, or the babies themselves. From each perspective, the experience is heartbreaking. And to what end? $1,400 per kid?! 

The couples, at least, are getting a child out of the deal (although it seems likely that as many of the children as possible will be taken away by the police). But what about the women bearing these children? What are they getting, beyond a place to give birth? Unfortunately, these expectant moms aren't the only ones getting taken advantage of in India. Because Indian surrogates are up to six times cheaper than their European counterparts, the gestational surrogacy industry is thriving, with women being promised a way out of poverty. The promises rarely pan out, however; in reality, surrogates are often returned to the slums they were recruited from after giving birth (via C-section to maximize the number of births per day) without full compensation. 

More from The Stir: Parents Sell Newborn So Older Child Can Get Medical Care

So clearly the business of childbirth is corrupt in the region, and that's unforgivably tragic, because these are human beings we're talking about here -- not just a sperm or egg, which someone chooses (and "chooses" being the key word) to sell. But this is a situation in which human life isn't being valued at any level: not the lives of these women, or these babies, or the couples so desperate to start families that they're willing to pay for babies they might very well be separated from at any time. Human trafficking certainly exposes the worst of what we're capable of as a species, and this story is a profound reminder of how far we have to go.


Image via ThomasLife/Flickr

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