16 pregnant young women who were allegedly being forced to have babies to be offered for sale for trafficking or other purposes, have been freed by police in Aba, the Abia State Police Command said Thursday.
The man suspected of running the home was arrested, according to the police. The suspect police said, was arrested on similar accusations two years ago but it was unclear what happened to the previous case or why he was freed.
“The operation was carried out by the DSS where 16 expectant mothers, aged between 17 and 37, were found,” Abia state police spokesman Geofrey Ogbonna told AFP.
The Department of State Services, DSS, said the raid on Cross Foundation in the southern city of Aba was carried out on Tuesday and the proprietor, Hyacinth Ndudim Orikara, had been arrested.
“The suspect is a serial human trafficker. He claims to be a medical doctor. I could recall that the same man was arrested in May 2011 and 32 teenage girls were rescued from his home,” he said.
According to him, the girls confessed that they had been offered to sell their babies for between 25,000 and 30,000 naira, depending on the s*x of the baby.
Ogbonna said the previous incident had been referred to the state-run agency fighting human trafficking, the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP.
“I don’t know what became of the matter and now he has been arrested again for the same offence,” he said.
A spokesman for the anti-trafficking agency however said the aency does not have jurisdiction over such cases and had handed the man back over to police. He was unsure what occurred after that.