Police in Nigeria have raided an alleged "baby factory," where young women were thought to have been forced to bear children to be sold.
Seven women between the ages of 18 and 20, three of whom were pregnant, were freed from a home in southern Akwa Ibom state after a police tip-off, Agence France-Presse reported. No babies were discovered in the raid.
Three suspects, including the owner, his wife and an accomplice were arrested, AFP said.
"The suspects usually lure young girls to get pregnant with a promise of 70 000 naira [$445] after having their babies, which they sell to ritualists," assistant police superintendent Oyekachi Orji told AFP.
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A number of such "baby factories" have been discovered Nigeria. Babies are bought by childless couples in illegal adoptions, or are sometimes sold into forced labor and prostitution. Less commonly they are bought to be sacrificed in black magic rituals.
Last year, Nigerian police raided a so-called baby factory in the southeastern city of Aba, rescuing 32 pregnant teenage girls who were allegedly being held captive in order to have their babies bought.
The United Nations ranks human trafficking the third most common crime in Nigeria, after economic fraud and drug trafficking. It estimates that at least 10 children are sold across Nigeria each day.
At least 2.4 million people are victims of human trafficking, the UN reported.
More from GlobalPost: Nigeria: "baby factory" raided, 32 pregnant girls rescued