• Too many street children resort to sniffing glue to help them to forget about the pain, cold and even abuse they have to suffer. We explore their world in an article featured in Servamus: May 2021.

  • The reality about the persistent demand for babies due to people who cannot have their own, has resulted in a market for “human fertility”. We explore this shocking reality in the May 2021 issue of Servamus.

  • Perfect parents do not exist, but parents can be guided in doing their best to help their children to grow up to become responsible and law-abiding citizens. In the May 2021 issue of Servamus we provide our readers with a parenting guide.

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By Kotie Geldenhuys

Infertility or the desire to have a child has resulted in many babies ending up as commodities for sale on the black market. Babies are either stolen or simply bought from mothers who cannot support their babies. The trade in and trafficking of babies happen in many countries across the world, but mostly in poor countries.

Stealing and selling babies is nothing new. Seventy years ago, the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis, USA was closed and even today the unimaginable horror of the place still echoes, not because many of the children were orphaned or abused, but because they were stolen. For 20 years, Georgia Tann ran the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, where she and an elaborate network of people, including doctors, police officials and lawyers, kidnapped and abused children to sell them off to wealthy couples. Since many families were only interested in babies, she concentrated her efforts on procuring infants. She targeted homes for unwed mothers, welfare hospitals and prisons and doctors, working with her, told new mothers that their babies had died during birth. Those children were “buried” at no cost to the families. Apart from snitching new-born babies, Georgia also coerced some mothers into signing their children away while still under sedation from labour. She preyed on women’s desperation, their poverty and their sense of shame. Although she made millions of dollars from stealing babies and children, Georgia Tann was never held accountable as three days after she was exposed, she died at home after slipping into a mysterious coma from untreated uterine cancer (Celeste, 2019).

Sadly, Georgia Tann and her network were not the last people who traded in babies. There are many horror stories of babies who are sold on the black market and in this article, we will share some of them. The black market for babies is thriving in several African countries and although it is not as widely reported in South Africa, there have been hair-raising cases of babies who have been sold or offered for sale. This includes the 2011 case of a government social worker of Kempton Park, who faked her qualifications and was selling babies to people who wanted to adopt children. She charged people who wanted to adopt children an adoption fee of between R400 and R6000 (News24, 2011). Then there was the case of a 20-year-old Pietermaritzburg woman who tried to sell her 19-month-old baby on Gumtree in October 2015. According to this woman, she tried selling her baby after her boyfriend had stopped paying child support when paternity tests revealed that he was not the father. The mother was charged with human trafficking and although human trafficking carries a maximum life sentence or a fine of R100 million, she was given a five-year suspended sentence and had to live under house arrest for three years. According to the magistrate, the reason why this lenient sentence was handed down, was because the woman did not have the intent per se to traffic her child (AFP, 2016).

According to reports, nearly 25% of Nigerian couples are infertile (Ajayi and Dibosa-Osadolor, 2011). But since treatment is expensive and often not an option, these couples have to look into surrogacy or adoption as alternatives to start a family. However, many women in Nigeria do not opt for surrogacy or adoption due to the stigma associated to infertility in their country. This stigma has contributed to the establishment of illegal "baby factories" which constitute a new form of human trafficking in Nigeria (Makinde et al, 2017). The perpetrators of these crimes are highly organised syndicates that involve a diverse number of players (Onuoha, 2014).

Crimes committed behind closed doors
According to Svetlana Huntley, an independent human rights researcher, these baby factories are usually located in buildings or institutions such as hospitals or orphanages which were converted to shelters for young pregnant girls and women where they first deliver their babies and from where the babies are sold (Huntley, 2013). Various evil crimes occur behind the walls of these baby factories and include baby breeding, forced impregnations, sale of babies, illegal adoptions as well as human trafficking. To ensure that there are more babies available for trafficking, many women in these baby factories are often forcefully impregnated by one of their kidnappers or an associate (Makinde et al, 2017).


[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: May 2021. If you are interested reading the rest of this shocking article that deals with the victim, the receiver and the babies’ fate, the corruption and the rescued girls’ stories, the mothers selling their babies and the countries where it takes place, send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..]

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Servamus - May 2021

This tweet left me with much to think about: “So my 8 year old met the guy in my life for the first time and he asked him for permission to call him dad.
By Annalise Kempen
South Africa is not only one of the countries with the highest crime rates in the world, but also with the highest rate of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) globally.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
In April 2021, a video showing a Grade 10 learner being bullied in full view of her peers at a secondary school in Limpopo, went viral on social media.
By Sas Otto
Infertility or the desire to have a child has resulted in many babies ending up as commodities for sale on the black market.
By Kotie Geldenhuys

Pollex - May 2021

Read More - Doorewaard and Another v the State (Case No 908/2019) [2020] ZASCA 155 (27 November 2020) and 2021(1) SACR 235 (SCA
ntroduction Mr Pieter Doorewaard (accused 1) and Mr Philip Schutte (accused 2) were convicted before the High Court in Mahikeng in the North West Province (“the trial court”) on five counts, namely murder; kidnapping; intimidation; theft and illegal pointing of a firearm.
Read More - S v Lekeka 2021 (1) SACR 106 (FB)
Mr Molefe Edward Lekeka, the accused, was convicted by the regional court in Bethlehem in the Free State (“the trial court”), of count 1, housebreaking with intent to contravene section 3 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007 (hereinafter referred to as Act 32 of 2007), and count 2, contravening section 55(a) of Act 32 of 2007.
Read More - amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism NPC* and Another v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and Others; Minister of Police v amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism NPC* and Others CCT 278/19 AND CCT 279/19 dated 4 February 2021 Constitutional Court (CC)
The applicants, namely amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism NPC* and Mr Stephen Sole - a journalist who had been the subject of state surveillance* - approached the High Court in Pretoria (“the High Court”) on the basis of a number of constitutional challenges to the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-related Information Act 70 of 2002 (hereinafter referred to as “RICA”)*.

Letters - May 2021

I endorse the sentiments of Jay Jugwanth about the absence of the Police Minister and MEC at the home of Sgt Paul.
On 11 March 2021, a closely-knit family was robbed of its nucleus, D/Sgt Jeremy Paul, who was ambushed and murdered while tracing a suspected in Swapo, an informal settlement in Pietermaritzburg.
Losing Louis has been very difficult for both myself, my sons, Jordan aged 14 and Jared aged 12. Louis contracted Covid-19 at the beginning of December 2020, and became too weak to fight anymore.
May Magazine Cover

Servamus' Mission

Servamus is a community-based safety and security magazine for both members of the community as well as safety and security practitioners with the aim of increasing knowledge and sharing information, dedicated to improving their expertise, professionalism and service delivery standards. It promotes sound crime management practices, freedom of speech, education, training, information sharing and a networking platform.