The social media is abuzz in the light of a high-profile baby-selling scandal by Al Jazeera, with people in high places including the police, national registration department and Datuk Seri’s – but why do people even do it?
The expose has gotten massive exposure and placed a spotlight on those involved, including a large maternity-clinic chain, police officers, underworld figures and the National Registration Department (NRD).
More Than Just Petty Crime
The video exposed a large maternity-clinic chain, owned by a family of Datuk Seri’s, had been running these businesses for three decades! While most doctors involved refused an interview after their activities were revealed, undercover journalists managed to record confessions that they had ‘insiders’ in the NRD to produce legitimate birth certificates to avoid a stateless child in the future.
The chain of clinics in question are last seen being stormed by journalists hoping to interview, and policemen who came to investigate.
Another woman were also exposed, having been recorded on video, suggesting verbally that she had trafficked these babies from Indonesia. She said she had gotten fed-up with Malaysian mothers who tend to change their minds last-minute, and revealed that she had police officers to help facilitate the sale.
While most try to keep a holier-than-thou front, rationalising that they are ‘helping’ struggling couples to adopt a child, the high cost of adoption and no-questions-asked processes gave their selfish agenda away.
Worse, these syndicates are openly advertising on Facebook, without a care that law-enforcement will ever take notice, perhaps confident that some of them are on their payroll. Others hide behind a veil of religion by appearing to be ‘helping’ by putting up a religious front.
Accidental Opportunity for Some
For many, these syndicates pose as an excellent opportunity as well. The Al-Jazeera expose interviewed a range of ‘bio-moms’ or biological mothers – and it was surprising to see them coming from very different backgrounds. One bio-mom is a Philippino maid who needed to get rid of her child – it is illegal for foreign labour to bear children in Malaysia.
Many others were teenage mothers who either ran away from home or chased out due to their pregnancy – most families, especially the more conservative ones, frown upon pregnancy due to wedlock.
The sex trade also stands to gain a lot from these syndicates. Prostitutes who avoid pregnancy now view pregnancy as blessings in disguise, as they stand to earn a lot more selling babies than their bodies. Pimps were videoed offering children of pregnant prostitutes, and customers can even have sex with the women if they ever wanted their own child.
Why Not Just Adopt?
In the midst of such scandals – many wonders why wouldn’t these desperate parents simply adopt children from homes, as there are many readily available from loving homes. However, it soon became apparent that the main reason these syndicates thrive is exactly because the current adoption system in Malaysia is way too tedious and complicated for it to be worth the trouble.
Even after adopting her child from traffickers threatening to sell her to begging syndicates, Hartini had to endure over 8 years of government bureaucracy just to become her child’s adoptive parent, and even then – her child is not a Malaysian citizen yet.
In comparison, syndicates work with government officials in the shadows to issue fake birth certificates for a ‘modest sum’, and nobody would ever know who the child’s biological parents were. As far as records are concerned, the customers are the biological parents.
RM20,000 to save 8 years of trouble, the math easily becomes clear.
No Questions Asked
With pedophilia, prostitution and begging syndicates running rampant in the country, many feared these children will be bought up by criminals, in order to groom them into child prostitutes or child beggers in the country or out.
There is also fear that the adoptive parents were unsuitable or unprepared to be a parent, as the typical processes of adoption is absent from all these baby selling syndicates.