|Babies on sale at Rawatawatte
Wijitha Nakkawita and Viranjan Herath
Baby farms in the guise of orphanages? There could
possibly be no greater human rights violation than
usurping the rights of infants who have no voice in
the matter by selling them like trade items.
When CPA got a telephone call last Wednesday (23) on
its emergency number 1929 informing that a baby farm
in the guise of an orphanage was being run at
Rawatawatte, the Chairperson of the CPA decided to
accompany her officers to raid the place
immediately. When they reached their destination,
the officers found a posh building - kept spic and
Once inside the premises, they found 65 babies and
children up to five year-old and 12 young pregnant
women, some of them still not reached adulthood.
Some babies were looked like not more than two weeks
or one month old. A foreign couple was also present.
The home was registered with CPA to house and look
after 40 children or babies and it had to maintain
files for each of them. There were only 30 files and
no documents were available for other 35 babies.
The matron of the home, a Christian nun, was
arrested by the CPA officers and produced before the
Moratuwa magistrate who ordered the suspect to be
remanded. Twelve employees of the establishment were
questioned and their statements were recorded.
The informants had told the CPA that young women
with extra-marital relationships were brought to the
home who wished to give away their children. They
had said these women had given their babies to the
orphanage. CID on a directive of Inspector General
of Police investigates the allegation that those
running the place have sold babies to locals and
Some highlights of this orphanage or home for
children were that under the law it could not house
pregnant young women as inmates. The reasons for the
presence of the foreign couple when the CPA officers
raided it were not explained. The chairperson had
said it was not clear whether they had come to
“purchase” a baby. But there are many such confusing
issues in the case. How did the management of the
home fund such a large establishment in a posh
building and why were the underage pregnant mothers
living in the house?
Those who had tipped off the CPA maybe the
neighbours who suspected something wrong was
happening. CID investigations are continuing though
the CPA did make a clear statement to the media
about the details of the raid. However, one suspect
has been arrested and remanded.
The establishment has been registered as a
children’s home under the Western Provincial
Council. The employees of the home had told the CPA
that an international organisation was helping them
to look after babies born to underage mothers out of
Some unanswered questions could be made clear only
after the investigations are completed.