The state ministry of Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city of the same name, has successfully shut down 3 illegal orphanages—including one operating as a “baby factory.”
Officials said Wednesday, April 25, that Nigerian authorities rescued over 160 children from the recent raids. Aside from the factory, they also found two unregistered orphanages. All of the victims have been relocated to new homes.
“The children and teenagers rescued from the baby factory were placed at Government Approved Homes for Care and Protection,” The Lagos State government said in a statement.
The raids come a week after President Donald Trump’s remarks on Thursday, April 19, saying that human trafficking has grown to historic levels in recent times.
“The drugs are a big factor, but you look at—human trafficking is worse than it’s ever been in the history of this world. And who would think in this modern-day age?” he said to an interagency border task force. “So it really is a big problem.”
There are an estimated 40.3 million victims of human trafficking worldwide, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). Modern slavery is another term for human trafficking.
Africans, in particular, make up a large portion of total human trafficking victims. About 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World over the course of more than 300 years as part of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database.
Babies and children in factories like the ones in Nigeria suffer from indescribable hardship and despicable atrocities. Some are sold for adoption, others are used for forced child labor or trafficked to Europe for prostitution, according to the BBC, adding that they can even be killed for ritual purposes.
Lagos’s Commissioner for Youths and Social Development, Agboola Dabiri, said during a ministerial press briefing Wednesday that some of the rescued children and babies had been sexually abused.
Dabiri also mentioned that out of the 163 children rescued in total, 100 of them were girls and 62 were boys.
An estimated 4.8 million people are victims of forced sexual exploitation, also known as sex trafficking, according to the ILO. About one in four of them are children.
The Lagos state government also announced that they had rescued 1,680 beggars, impoverished and mentally challenged persons, and children off the streets of Lagos.
Just last month, Trump appointed nine human trafficking survivors to serve on the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. The president also proclaimed January 2018 National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
“Human trafficking is a sickening crime at odds with our very humanity,” Trump wrote in the proclamation. “My administration continues to work to drive out the darkness human traffickers cast upon our world.”