Cash-strapped teenage mother pawns new-born baby to stranger

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MASERU — A desperate teenage mother allegedly gave her newly born baby to a stranger who had offered to pay her hospital bills.

The two women both gave birth at Queen ‘Mamohato Hospital maternity ward on January 21.

The older woman, aged 25, had a still birth.

But eager to have a baby she then struck a deal with the 18-year-old mother by paying her hospital bills in exchange for the healthy baby.

She also gave the teenager an undisclosed amount of money to help her pay her rent.

According to the police, the older woman struck the deal after she was informed by doctors that she had womb cancer and would not be able to give birth.

Police spokesperson Masupha Masupha said the matter only came to light after the teenage mother went home empty-handed.

She then failed to give clear answers when she was confronted by her parents on what had happened to her baby.

“She later explained that the baby had been taken by a woman who had offered to pay her hospital bills and rent,” Masupha said.

The parents then reported the matter to the police leading to the woman’s arrest.

The baby was seized from the “adoptive” mother on February 9.

Masupha said the two women are expected to appear in court soon to answer charges of violating the Children’s Protection Act of 2011.

Under the law it is an offence punishable by a two-month jail sentence or a fine not exceeding M2 000 to fail to take care of one’s child.

Masupha said the woman had given false names and address to the child’s mother.

“She told the mother of the child that she stayed in Khubetsoana yet she stays in Thetsane.

“She had also promised to bring back the child to its mother,” he added.

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