Sale of babies, as rare as it may sound, has become a way of life in the slums of the Kumasi Metropolis in the Ashanti Region.
A notorious spot for this emerging illegality is the Asafo BB, where prostitution and other forms of crime are gaining grounds.
For prostitutes, business-gone-wrong means getting pregnant in line of duty. Besides having to go off for a while, fending for the baby, in the small shacks where they live, is hell.
A subject for this story, whom I choose to call Abena, gave birth through prostitution.
“I have stopped work for a couple of months so I don’t have enough money to cater for the child and myself. My rent as well,” she told me.
No work means no money to feed herself and the baby, having to manage in a small, poorly- lit shack for which she pays ten cedis daily as rent.
At least, one commercial sex worker is serving a jail term for selling her baby.
A colleague in the commercial sex business explained that “Selling of babies is common here but we are unable to arrest any of them. So after our sister was jailed for the crime we decided to be vigilant. How do you buy a baby for ¢500?”
This woman, I choose to call Adoma, claims to be a nurse at a hospital in Obuasi, but checks prove otherwise.
According to her, she has been married for ten years without a child and has been under pressure from her husband and his family to give them one.
Adoma’s only solace to save her marriage was to go hunting for a child in the slum.
“Myself and my husband have separated but I managed to get pregnant before. I had a miscarriage so I wanted to buy a child to save the marriage. She agreed with my employee to accept four thousand cedis which I found too little for a human being. I refused the baby because he was too old for me. My marriage is on the brink of collapse”, she narrated.
Two others had accompanied Adoma into the slum in search of a child.
Both corroborated the story. They admit to going to the slum in search of a baby to buy.
One woman – I will call Joan – through a friend, got wind of the search for a baby and offered her’s for sale.
She tells me she feigned interest and agreed to use her baby as a trap to expose the baby-selling syndicate.
An arrangement was made with a vigilante group for the arrest of the prospective child buyers.
The three who had gone to the slum to buy the baby were subsequently arrested together with members of the vigilante group.
Police say the group had withdrawn an unspecified amount of money from the victim’s mobile money account after seizing her phone.
Police have since taken statements from all the parties and granted them bail.
Under the Anti-Human Trafficking Act, 2005; Human trafficking means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, trading or receipt of persons within and across national borders by;
The use of threats, force or other forms of coercion, abduction, transfer, deception, the abuse of power or exploitation of vulnerability.
Successful investigation and prosecution of the three who attempted to buy the baby per the act, both the principal actor and intermediaries, including the relative of the child they intend trafficking, may earn them a jail term of five years.