In a strange case, nine surrogate babies were found in “suspicious circumstances” in a Bangkok condo, raising suspicion over possible human trafficking in Thailand. While there were no birth certificates for the children, they were all under good health and had a personal nanny when they were found. Nevertheless, the suspicious story has only gained traction as the ministry continues to investigate the case.
The father, an alleged “Japanese businessman” who wishes to remain nameless, is under primary investigation for possible plans to traffick the babies, as well as to determine if the surrogacy of the babies — who, lawyers claim, all have the same mother — was illegal. Nevertheless, the man’s lawyer remains adamant that he loves his children and even bought properties, bonds and insurance under their names.
This most recent report comes just days after allegations were made that an Australian couple abandoned their Down syndrome surrogate baby while taking home his perfectly healthy twin sister. Thailand, which has been under recent attack as the “go-to” place for commercial (illegal) surrogacy due to strict laws being enacted in neighboring countries, may now hold a new law prohibiting the act in lieu of recent events.
Prohibiting commercial surrogacy, the law would provide punishment for violators, including up to 10 years in prison and fines for up to 200,000 baht (roughly $6,200.) While many countries have already tightened their laws regarding surrogacy, most often with an implanted embryo from unbiological parents, other countries such as Thailand, Ukraine and India have become almost tourist destinations for parents looking for low-cost surrogate mothers.
While Thailand is a growing country, more than 13 percent of its population is still living below the poverty line. Due to lack of strict legislation, human trafficking is a growing problem in the country. And while the unemployment rate is still less than 2 percent of the population, the percentage of those living in poverty — and being forced into human trafficking — is only continuing to increase.
The nannies and surrogate mother found with the nine babies have all been questioned, and the babies have been taken to a state-run nursing home in Nonthaburi’s Pak Kret district. Under the Child Protection Act, the babies will be taken care of by the ministry until their families or guardians have been found. As the investigation continues, possibilities of human trafficking and commercial surrogacy could result in legal action toward any guilty parties.
– Nick Magnanti
Sources: World Vision, World Bank, The Star, UCA News, Japan Times