Mother Teresa charity nun and worker accused in baby selling scandal
The home was charging around US$600 per baby...
A recent probe into the Ranchi baby selling scandal in India has resulted in the arrest of a nun and charity worker serving the Missionaries of Charity centre. Set up by Mother Teresa, Nirmal Hriday provides shelter for pregnant unmarried women, as well as other women in distress.
Police began investigations after local child welfare committees received complaints that babies were being sold from the charity. An Indian couple also filed a complaint after a baby boy was taken from them. They claimed they paid the charity worker 120,000 rupees (around $1,700) and never received a refund.
Ranchi Baby Selling Scandal Shocked the Nation
Sunita Kumar the spokesperson for the Missionaries of Charity has expressed shock over the matter.
“We are shocked to know what has happened in our home… it is completely against our moral conviction. We are carefully looking into this matter. We will take all necessary precautions that it never happens again. If it has happened.”
Established in 1950, the Missionaries of Charity now has more than 3,000 nuns globally. Those in service provide soup kitchens, hospices, schools, leper colonies and homes for the underprivileged. The charity also offers shelter for unmarried women, but no longer facilitates adoptions.
Black Market Baby Selling Continues to Thrive
Adopting a child legally takes a long time. There are stringent laws and hefty costs to consider. Due to this, childless couples still find it easier to go directly to hospitals, orphanages and charity homes.
All around the world, babies continue to be sold illegally on the black market because there is always a demand for it. Ethics aside, baby selling is an extremely lucrative business for sellers looking for personal gain.
In a phone interview with Reuters, police officer Aman Kumar said that he believes childless couples purchased at least five to six babies from that centre alone.
But as the Ranchi baby selling scandal began to slowly unfold, the Indian Child Welfare Committee (CWC) also discovered that other babies have been sold to various people in different cities for 50,000 to 70,000 rupees.
Police to Widen Investigations
Since then, authorities have sealed off the missionary’s Ranchi centre, and CWC has transferred the remaining 13 pregnant women to a different location.
The police will continue to investigate the workings of the baby selling operation. They will also look into the number of children sold or given away in the past years.
The head of the Jharkhand State Child Protection Society told Reuters that they suspect the home was charging at least $600 for each baby.
Police have reason to believe that if this had been a lucrative trade, then there is reason to believe that other centres may be indulging in the same activities. Authorities intend to widen investigation to put a stop to it. Senior police officer RK Mallick expects more cases will begin to pop up, as they probe deeper into the Ranchi baby selling scandal.
If convicted, those arrested will be looking at a 10-year sentence.
Although proper child adoption process is complex, parents should not resort to buying babies illegally. Doing it properly will take a bit of time because social welfare needs to carry out screening and verification. This is to ensure that only eligible parents are allowed to adopt.
It might seem easier to buy babies illegally than it is to adopt. But those shady agreements are at your own risk. You might be provided with some papers, but problems can still arise when authorities find out that the child’s birth registration is not in the system.
Lead and Feature picture credit: AFP screengrab
Read also: How to adopt a baby in Singapore