Madurai: The recent arrest of a gang for attempting to sell a six-month-old infant boy to a couple from Pudukkottai has again brought to the fore the baby selling racket prevalent in the district. The arrests come within a year of a similar gang being busted in the city. However, authorities admit that illegal sale of babies has been going on behind their backs and that they are unable to track the culprits.
So what keeps the baby sale racket thriving? Women who give birth to children out of wedlock as well as extramarital relationships turn out to be easy targets of brokers who get in touch with childless couples for lucrative deals. The long wait for legal adoptions and lack of awareness often drive parents to the illegal baby market. Experts say social stigma too plays a significant role in pushing some parents to secure a baby by hook or crook.
In June 2016, the city police along with district child protection unit and Child line busted a gang and arrested six people including a woman doctor involved in the sale of babies. The same month, a soothsayer from Theni district was arrested for stealing an infant playing outside a house in a village near Saptur.In 2013, the baby of a woman named T Meenakshi of Bommapatti was stolen from Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai.
Madurai district child protection officer M Viviliaraja says, “Illegal sales do take place. However, it is practically impossible to trace them because we don’t get information. Unless there is a problem between the motherbroker-buyer the business will remain under wraps,” says he.
M. Jeeva of The Campaign Against Sex Selective Abortion said that there was no mechanism in place to keep track of children after they were born. Many of them landed in wrong hands. In the infamous Mose Ministries case in Trichy, the children were not even provided good education. Nowadays, even doctors were involved in selling infants.