Buying a baby in Nairobi’s black market is as easy as eating candy if an expose by BBC’s Africa Eye is anything to go by.
Homeless mothers with children, mostly infants are a prime target in this business where the child fetches a market price of between Ksh50,000 and Ksh80,000.
At the centre of this illegal syndicate trafficking children is a professional “child snatcher” who works on a contractual basis and senior government officials who make it possible to get children from government-managed facilities with complete paperwork.
In the streets of Nairobi, Anita is the real deal. She is said to possess powerful skills which enables her snatch children even in the presence of their mothers and still get away with it.
She goes to the extent of drugging them just to get the baby.
The African Eye team in the course of their investigation posed as buyers and were introduced to Anita who met one of them in downtown Nairobi.
When she met the ‘buyer’ she narrated how she managed to snatch a kid who was in her custody from a mother who was allegedly new to the streets.
“The mother was new to the streets, she seemed to be confused, not aware of what was going on. She trusted me with her child. Now I have the child,” BBC reports.
Anita added that her boss was exerting a lot of pressure on her to get more babies. She said that the woman who she sells the babies to is a businesswoman who also sells them for sacrifices.
However, some barren women also buy the kids from her boss and when she has the opportunity, she makes a direct trade with prospective customers.
A few days later, Anita would show up at the meeting point with a five-month-old infant who she snatched from some lady in town.
“She gave it to me for a second and I ran away with it,” she said telling her buyers that there was an offer from another client of Ksh80,000.
At the Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital, one Fred Leparan, a clinical social worker is in the business of selling babies whom he is charged with taking care of them.
“I have this baby boy in the hospital. They dropped him off two weeks ago and never came back,” he said in a conversation with the a disguised prospective buyer.
“The last case scared me… Suppose we do this, I want a plan that won’t cause us problems later on,” he said.
When he met the African Eye team – incognito – he spoke of how his last trade made him shiver
Africa Eye discovered that agencies tasked with fighting child trafficking are underfunded and understaffed which makes it hard for them to operate.
Missing Child Kenya, and NGO founded and run by Maryana Munyendo said that in four years, she and her team have worked on 600 cases of missing children.