Woman alleged to have bought and sold babies for profit

NELSPRUIT – A Mozambican woman accused of human trafficking has apparently bought babies for R2 000 and sold them for R300 000.

This is according to a social worker who cannot be identified due to the ongoing investigation against Ms Elizabeth Gwambe (42).

One of the victims told the social worker that Gwambe had bragged about paying approximately R2 000 per child and selling them for up to R300 000.

Her trial will begin on October 21, and she had to have her whole case restarted due to her previous defence attorney,

Mr MC Mabunda, withdrawing after she blamed him for changing her plea.

A new attorney still has to be appointed.

She was arrested in December 2011.

She was found in a taxi heading to Johannesburg with a baby whom she claimed was hers, said Mpumalanga police spokesman Col Leonard Hlathi.

After the baby didn’t want to drink milk from Gwambe, her co-passengers became suspicious.

They confronted her and reported the matter to police. Hlathi said it later emerged that she supposedly also stole a

four-year-old boy and placed him with her neighbours in Johannesburg.

She remains in custody.

The United Nations’ latest report on human-trafficked babies is that during 2004 and 2012, the number of international adoptions of children from Africa has increased by nearly 400 per cent.

In total, the number of those who were adopted from countries in Africa by parents in others during the eight years was over

41 000. Reported prices paid to adoption agencies in Africa are between US $10 000 to

$30 000.

Experts report that many of the orphans actually have at least one living parent and were taken by child traffickers or sold by their parents.

Tereasa Ferrari

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