Three years after our sting operation exposed a bone-chilling child trafficking racket, the baby-sellers are back in business, as our cover story related yesterday.

On February 20, 2012, undercover mid-day reporters had busted a trafficking ring involved in transacting infants like commodities for R2 lakh-3 lakh. Acting on the expose, police had nabbed the key suspects, but within 24 hours of their arrest, they were let off on a measly bail. Now, one of them, Ratna Ubale, has resurfaced on the police radar for trying to sell newborns from a Dharavi-based clinic.

Want of awareness and sensitivity among cops is a major cause for the recidivism of the accused. On Wednesday, when we visited the Central police station in Ulhasnagar regarding the recent case in which a baby girl was going to be sold for R50,000, cops were mulling over which sections need to be applied in the case. They were incognizant that such cases needs to be referred to the Child Welfare Committee, a state government agency instituted to protect the innocent lives from offences.

An unwitting motivator of this business is the long-drawn-out legal adoption process, which is characterised by daunting paperwork and interminable waits that often go in vain. Although the hoops of bureaucratic approval that couples are put through may be meant to secure the rights and well being of the child, they ultimately act as a disincentive to take the legal route, leading desperate couples to shortcuts.

It is necessary for them to realise that their frantic urge for adoption may end up robbing someone of parenthood, because, in order to exploit the huge market for illegal adoption, miscreants often tend to steal babies.
There are umpteen baby thefts reported from government hospitals year upon year, and the city’s streets are no stranger to baby snatchers.

Unless the adoption process is rationalised and the laws pertaining to the theft and sale of infants are tightened, crimes such as these will continue to victimise children.