Cash-strapped coconut farmers are forced to sell their babies in Karnataka, the heart of India’s powerful IT sector, to make ends meet, according to a media report.
With the help of unscrupulous middlemen, babies from a village in Tumkur district, outside Karantaka’s capital Banglaore, are being sold at between 6,000 and 8,000 Indian rupees (RM444 to RM592).
At least, six new babies of farmers who are unable to cope with grinding poverty, were sold to wealthy families in the past one week.
Local police said that over the last six months, 20 cases were reported in the state, many involving new-born baby boys, while others were below four years of age.
“He (husband) committed suicide after he lost his job in a coconut desiccating company.
“Her in-laws threw her out of the house with her two-month old baby. She has been living on the streets for over two months and selling vegetables,” social worker S. Channabasappa told the media.
Coconut production had dipped badly last season, thus pushing farmers into unemployment and deep financial crisis in the state.
Karnataka Commission for Protection of Child Rights has blamed abject poverty among farmers for the evil practice where families were forced to sell their children.
“Many families, due to poverty or with too many children, are compelled to hand over their children for a price, if they do not have any social security support,” said commission chairman Nina Nayak.
State minister for women and child development P. M. Narendraswamy has ordered an inquiry into the sale of babies.