Child adoption, child trafficking and illegal surrogate parenting practices in Nigeria

The need for social work intervention

  • Rosemary C B Okoli University of Nigeria, Nsukka
  • Ngozi S Udechukwu University of Nigeria, Nsukka
Keywords: child adoption, child protection, middlemen, trafficking, illegal


Child adoption though not new in Nigeria has gained popularity and become a booming and lucrative business for the many parties involved. What is new, however, are the public consciousness and reservations in the way adoption services are conducted. These have led to, “baby making factories”, where young women are recruited and sexually groomed, impregnated and their babies forcibly taken away and sold to human trafficking gangs and intermediaries. Ostensibly, these middlemen provide humanitarian services but closer observation reveals systemic gaps and vulnerabilities in their modus operandi, and has raised questions bordering on child protection, human rights and human trafficking. Presenting a qualitative research on the experiences of a 13-year old teenage birth mother who gave up her baby for adoption and two adoptive families who have successfully gone through adoptions via the government agency, this paper draws attention to the illegalities and scandals in the current adoption processes and, consequently, calls for greater involvement of social workers in providing support to the victims of such illegal and forced adoption practices, and for proper controls and documentation of child adoption services and procedures in order to minimise these irregularities.

Author Biographies

Rosemary C B Okoli, University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Department of Social Work

Ngozi S Udechukwu, University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Department of Social Work