In this concluding part of my attempt at encouraging law enforcement agencies in their efforts at nabbing owners of illicit baby businesses, through appraising happenings ‘through the eyes’ of these devilish operators, and applying elements of the marketing mix as springboard, Place is being summed up here, while the fourth element (Promotion) follows. This is in the light of baby being regarded (irrespective of ethics) as a physical product by owners of these ventures. The relevant roles of Product, Price, (two other elements of marketing mix) have been reviewed earlier.
As ‘Place’ (a component of the marketing mix) consists of the activities which make products (or services) available to customers, when and where they intend to purchase them or how a business gets its products to customers, it is now quite apparent that motherless babies’ homes serve this purpose in the consummation of illegal deals related to the subject here. Interested parties (“prospective customers”) who may even genuinely desire adopting a baby look up to these facilities as outlets that provide access to meeting their needs – Just the way customers in a real market situation visit wholesale or retail outlets for whatever product(s) they require.
These baby factories are business outfits in all ramification, and offer ‘wares’ that comprise young humans – Not physical products, which members of sane communities expect as offering. What has now become clear is that some of these so-called motherless babies’ homes or orphanages exist not as humanitarian entities, but have hoodwinked the public as ‘baby trading’ remains the name of their game.
It is no good news being informed of recent happenings in parts of Nigeria, within barely two weeks, about baby factories (disguised as motherless babies’ homes) becoming the ‘in thing’. I still cringe at press statements like, “…in Enugu, the police discovered a hideout where teenage girls were rescued at 7, Ogui Lane…; “… ‘baby factory’ where the pregnant girls give birth before babies were sold to prospective buyers…”; ‘‘…case in Lagos where an unborn baby’s sale had even been negotiated…”. For goodness sake, what has become of this society?
It has become quite necessary to commence giving a closer look at so many ‘homes’ and similar facilities around, which claim to be catering for orphans or “motherless babies”. With so many of such (sometimes faith based, charitable organisation operated, and even local government run) dotting several Nigerian towns and cities, recent news stories have given cause for regulatory authorities in this sector to realize that ‘all that glitters is not gold’.
This is the fourth element of the marketing mix that stands clearly as depicting any vehicle employed for getting people to know more about your product or service. Some regard ‘promotion’ as the communication with individuals, groups, or organisations to directly or indirectly facilitate exchanges by influencing audience members to accept what is being offered. While it is this element of the marketing mix that provides information that aids customers in making purchase decision (if you don’t know about something, decision on whether to buy or not becomes almost impossible). In a nutshell, while envisioning the position of promotion in the mix, just remember, “Letting people know about what is being offered in the market”.
With advertising, publicity and public relations, personal selling (sales), sales promotion and direct marketing comprising components or mix of promotion, a major question rests on how these apply to the market for babies. They mostly do not apply. It is obviously absurd to expect operators of such enterprises to advertise what they do, or approach the press ‘thumping their chest’ about their modus operandi.
What obtains as mode of promotion for these covert ventures is a subtle form of personal selling. Vulnerable and desperate childless women (often with traits of financial capabilities) are identified for secret sales pitches, by agents of these motherless babies’ homes. In such situation, despondency on the part of the prospects, coupled with typical confidentiality that becloud such deals, mostly provide favourable platform for consent. Just like what happened in the case of the couple the United States embassy in Lagos tipped the police about (stated earlier), they were ‘spotted’ (in their high brow Lekki peninsular residence) by an agent of a motherless babies’ home in far away Port-Harcourt. This agent easily deciphered that this childless couple could afford N1.8 million for a set of twins before her sales pitch. Who says marketing cannot be applied in negative ways?
Security agencies, regulators of orphanages and motherless babies’ operations should ‘have their eye peeled’, to stem this unfavourable tide. Intelligence operations targeted at women’s groups, faith based organisations, and even religious gatherings will yield positive results. It is not funny being informed of recent accusation of Nigeria by the United States’ government on failing to comply fully with the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking. Also is Save the Children’s (an international humanitarian organisation’s) classification of Nigeria as one of the most endangered countries for babies to be born.
There should be decisive action on stopping this occurrence. Apprehended owners of these ventures and their collaborators should be prosecuted, to discourage others from sticking to this path. This is why I call on the law enforcement agencies to do the needful – Reason along the lines enumerated in this piece to curb this growing ”baby for sale” market before things go awry.