Going by recent news reports, illicit baby business is no doubt becoming a trend around. Curious minds are pondering if cultural values have seized to exist; morality gone with the wind; and ethics of business to the dogs – All as fallout of increased materialism and penchant for money which clearly have become the order of the day in Nigeria. Since no sane society should allow such to thrive, whatever it takes to encourage agencies of government (e.g. the police, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons & Other Related Matters or NAPTIP) to curb this ugly trend must be encouraged.
As modern approach to curtailing crimes encourages “reasoning as a thief to catch a thief”, while marketing remains the fulcrum of all business endeavours, this piece is intended to encourage those faced with the responsibility of nabbing the related ‘bad guys’ to view things ‘through the eyes’ of operators of illicit baby business, using marketing as platform.
The marketing mix (with its four components of product, price, place and promotion or 4Ps), as a major part of the marketing process occupies a centre stage in this regard. This is in the light of baby being viewed as product (in comparative terms with physical product) by some devilish enterprises, in a market environment which makes one wonder if ethics of business have taken leave of this clime.
Even where the subject here restricts us to marketing of product (despite realisation that marketing features also in the propagation of service, idea, concept, etc), its place as being quite relevant in meeting the needs of the customer or consumer must be underlined. The same holds for marketing facilitating provision of solutions to the problems or requirements of a consuming public. Indeed these attributes are ultimately translated to what is being offered in any marketing process.
Due to various reasons, people have need for products such as house, car, watch, computer, fire arm (weapon), dress, bread, shoes, etc. The same applies to an entity that signifies the early stage of life; a very young human, born after coming out of a woman; which I find very difficult to refer to as a product (as it is an epitome of God’s creation) – Baby. I feel more comfortable applying such term to inanimate objects, rather than humans. What typically prompts a need or desire for a baby is quite obvious and should not be overemphasized here, but what remains quite significant is the translation of such desires in humans to desperate tendencies which criminal elements among us are now capitalizing upon. The effect is the prevalent up scaled application of a business practice (of which marketing constitutes its core) in making this “product” available to both deserving consumers and those with inhuman intensions (e.g. as material for rituals).
While marketing, to me, remains “all that should be needed to favourably make product or service available to the end-user”, considering marketing mix along what spurs promoters of “baby factories”, apprehending such elements can be achieved through reasoning along the lines of regarding baby as physical product within a market situation. 4Ps (product, price, place, and promotion) of the marketing mix, which make up the primary elements that must be attended to in order to properly market a product, are being featured here to facilitate viewing related opportunities through the eyes of those in the business of trading in baby in order to stem this growing trade.
Product is termed anything that can be offered to the market to satisfy a want or need. In other words, that item which you are offering to customers. It often evolves through a manufacturing process whereby the final output conforms with meeting a need or providing solution. Naturally, baby comes into existence through coming out of a woman, in a natural reproduction process, ideally within a family setting.
To cater for the needs of many who desire baby (even at any cost), we now see a criminal trend in which solutions come by way of adherence to a “manufacturing process” or brand of business that makes for breeding children and then selling them to customers who comprise mainly of childless couples. These, most of the time pass on such as their biological children. Others with devilish intensions primitively utilize this as a source of vital human organs or body parts for ritual purposes.
It was in the news recently of a “manufacturing” system whereby a 23 year old man was commissioned as sole ‘impregnator’ of 17 expectant teenage mothers in Imo state. Another news item has it that a “baby factory” (which many motherless babies’ homes or orphanages have now metamorphosed into) was recently discovered to contain 20 pregnant teenagers, and 11 minors already booked for sale.
I do not see illiteracy and high rate of poverty as justification for governments’ kid gloves towards those who take to this devilish tendency in a bid to have children as parent(s); establish illegal babies’ homes or orphanages solely with eyes on money; produce babies for sale to prospective buyers; theft of babies and child trafficking. The police and NAPTIP should endeavour to make mince meat of such enterprises now it seems the vogue, especially in the south-eastern part of Nigeria. A manufacturing process should remain what it is acclaimed to be, not contracting female teenagers to constitute baby factories. (To be continued).