Six hospital staff in Karnataka have been accused of taking infants and young children and offering them to childless couples in an illegal adoption racket, police in Karnataka state said on Friday. The three men and three ladies, who acted as attendants and lab experts at five private hospitals and a government-run hospital in Mysuru city, were a piece of a greater, organised gang involved in trafficking youngsters, investigating officer Ravi Channannavar said.
“The gang targeted poor couples coming to the hospitals to deliver or get an abortion, in which case they convinced them to deliver the child. They would then steal the babies,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
In other cases, the gang would steal children from beggars on the streets and sell them for 200,000 rupees in cities like Bengaluru.
“Our investigations have revealed that the group had sold at least 15 children to different childless couples,” Channannavar said.
“We have rescued three children so far and are looking for the others. There may be many more.”
Proclamations by the arrested group individuals indicate the association of a doctor also, police said.
The six were arrested on Tuesday taking after an extensive examination activated in April when police got a grumbling from a lady who said her two-year-old child had been grabbed off the road.
“This case is one of the few that has come to light, but there are many more unreported cases,” said Paul Sundar Singh of non-profit Karunalaya, which runs a centre for street children in Chennai.
“Stealing children is a big organised crime that police are still struggling to clamp down on across the country. Cases of young children stolen from the pavements of Chennai city earlier this year are still unsolved.”