Attribution, Consequences and Pervasiveness of Baby Factory in Nigeria

  • Ugochi Nkwunonwo

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Baby factory (BaF), the act of buying, and selling of babies illegally has been in the limelight as a major crime and social disorder in Nigeria since it was first discovered by the UNESCO in their 2006 baseline study. The characteristic nature of the BaF crime, its victims and perpetrators, and the difficulty of its conceptualisation raise many research questions. Previous studies relied mostly on secondary data, media reports and anecdotes and therefore raised insufficient episteme and awareness to the pervasiveness, attributions, and consequences of the BaF activities. The present research aims to identify and critically examine factors that contribute to and perpetuate the phenomenon, reveal its dangers, proffer policy solutions, and suggest ways of containing its consequences and pervasiveness. The nature of the inquiry in this research made the application of mixed-method design essential. The study requires an understanding of multiple perspectives at gathering of trend data and individual perspectives and contextualising instruments, measures, or interventions. The study therefore employed literature reviews, interview, and survey, and used crime mapping tools and geospatial analyses – as a new means of scientific inquiry within the BaF research theme. The results of the study showed that, BaF thrives in secret and opportune moments driven by poverty, greed, and shame. Trend and hotspot analyses of data available indicate that BaF is dominant in the south-eastern part of Nigeria and has progressively flourished within the last two decades. Victims seek stability and self-preservation to deal with humiliation, rejection, and stigma, while criminals use emotional pressure and unfulfilled promises to attract and maintain girls to buy and sell babies. There is no clear pattern of population distribution throughout the nation that can be related to BaF pervasiveness. The study also revealed that while there is so much peripheral knowledge of what Baby factory is, there are no mechanisms to support young people when they find themselves in a situation like unwanted pregnancy. The study recommends that policy changes through problem- solving process are needed to address the phenomenon as uncertainty and confusion are the primary obstacles in the way of finding a solution to the BaF issue. The complex nature of BaF means that it requires an approach that should take into consideration all aspects the society, including educational, cultural, religious, political, and institutional.
    Date of Award7 Jun 2023
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Portsmouth
    SupervisorLana Chikhungu (Supervisor), Karen Shalev (Supervisor) & Francesca Salvi (Supervisor)

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