BioethicsFri Feb 25, 2011 - 6:37 pm EST
Fourteen women rescued from ‘eugenics surrogate’ baby trafficking ring in Thailand
BANGKOK, February 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Fourteen Vietnamese women have been rescued from what appears to be sexual slavery in the compound of a surrogate baby trafficking ring in Thailand, according to local media reports.
Nine of the fourteen women reportedly said that they had been lured to the operation with promises of large payments for giving birth as surrogates, while four said that they had been tricked, according to Major General Manu Mekmok, who leads immigration investigations in Thailand.
“This is illegal and inhuman. In some cases it looks like they were raped,” Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit told the press.
Thai authorities said that the illegal company, called “Baby 101”, had confiscated the women’s passports and refused to return them unless they agreed to cooperate as surrogate mothers. The Thai government discovered the ring after some of the women emailed the Vietnamese embassy.
“Baby 101”, which describes itself as a “eugenics surrogate” service, displays pictures of its surrogate mothers living in in the compound on its website (http://www.baby-1001.com/eng/about.htm). The women were paid 5,000 USD per baby, while clients paid 32,000 USD plus expenses.
“We could create the finest procreation condition for your baby, mainly through the efficient embryo refining, only the superior left for implanting,” the company boasts on its website. It does not mention what becomes of human embryos that fail its eugenic standards.
“In the community where the accommodation is located, there are security lookout in every entrance, severely control the person and vehicles that pass in and out to the community, the guards routinely patrol around 24 hours a day all year,” the company also states, going on to tout a clean environment that is “safe for surrogates living inside.”
Commercial surrogacy is illegal in Thailand. Only close relatives can act as surrogates, and cannot receive payment. The Thai parliament is currently considering legislation that would apply stiff fines and long prison sentences to those convicted of operating surrogacy rings.
“We have to take the issue seriously, otherwise we will become a place for human trafficking involving surrogacy,” Jurin told reporters.
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