Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A MUST READ: Daycare Centres Hiring out Babies for Begging

Did you dropped off your kid this morning already? Okay great!

Read this!

Another unscrupulous mafia like syndicate ring has been exposed -a new notorious form of racketeering with infants from Day Care Centres.
Daily Times investigation uncovered a tripartite gang, comprising some unscrupulous Day Care Centers (DCC), middle men who act as agents and the operatives who are the beggars.

The operators of the unscrupulous DCCs calculate the hours that mothers who use their services would be at work, then release the kids out to the agents who are responsible for distribution to the beggars. An ex-operative in the racket
(name withheld) who became born again volunteered information in the course of the investigation. She told Daily Times the network runs strictly on trust, and recruits only operatives who come highly recommended by the agents.

“It is the duty of the agents to find operatives; they also find the most likely place for them to stay and ensure that both the women and the children are safe. They are also responsible for returning the children and their respective centers at the appointed times,” she said.

The source further revealed that the agents understand the risks involved in taking someone’s child for alms begging and ensure that children are never sent to locations where they may be identified and some DCCs, it is believed, drug the children to make them sleep through the ‘business’ hours.

“Children from one location are taken to a far place so that chances of their parents running into them would be reduced; and also, the operatives are under watch all the time so that, if there is any sign of trouble, they would move in and take the operative and the children away. Also, the safe hours are very important because a parent must not come and not meet their wards at the centers.” she added.

Rates differ according to the season; the festive or important seasons attract higher tariffs per child.

According to reports from a Daily Times correspondent who took to the streets to investigate further, a dark complexioned woman was spotted around Ikeja under bridge, Lagos, with three infants; not more than three months old. Curiously, she was not alone; a second woman sat beside her, carrying one of the kids.

When questioned about the paternity of the children, how old they were and why she was out there in the sun with them, a drama of a sort unfolded:

 The woman immediately flared up, cursing while the second woman hastily reached for her phone, made a quick call and lo, a blue Toyota Camry pulled out from the Computer Village gate end, made a quick u-turn under the bridge and slowed down beside the women who scrambled into the car with the infants and they sped off.

Like a rehearsed movie script, one moment the women were there; in a few minutes they were gone; but two things caught the eye of the correspondent:

the children, all the while appeared to be sleeping, even when they were being bundled into the vehicle, none of them as much as stirred, and secondly, the driver of the vehicle screened his face off with a sunshade dark as the night, and thirdly, the vehicle number plate was not distinguishable.

A similar drama also reportedly occured at the busy Iyana Ipaja two days later. This time, a fair woman with a laminated photo of a set of triplets in their infants making it appear like she was the woman in the photo with them, was spotted. In her arms were the triplets, all boys now about three years old; but something curiously noticeable is the state of the boys: they were looking too healthy and well groomed to have been surviving from alms begging.

Attempts to tail her home and make inquiries from her neighbourhood, was futile as an unbranded bus with two women and several children picked her and the boys up about 8 a.m. She had been there two hours and since then she never showed up there again.

 It was further learnt that the Centers take responsibility for preparing and dressing the kids up for business, while the agent takes responsibility for dropping the operatives/ babies at their ‘outlets’ and returns them at the appointed time; DCCs then bathe the children and freshens them up ready for their parent’s pick up.

The sight of women with two or more children, mostly infants, sitting by the busy sidewalks, at major bus stops, market places, and on some busy pedestrian bridges begging for alms is no longer strange. Like a smokescreen, the operators shield their nefarious practices with a compelling humanity that calls the human conscience to question.

The age of children used for this racket ranges from one month to six months and above, depending on the prevailing circumstances, but there is always room for special arrangements.

 Thus, for those who take their infants to Daycare centres, vigilance is the watchword while you can also do quick and unexpected checks on your kids.

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