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This week in the Khuta – Women not the only ones at fault

Last week, a 29 year old woman made headlines when she placed an advert in a local daily offering her baby for sale. Has poverty hit our people so hard that young mothers are now forced to sell their children?
The woman, who is from Evululuko Informal Settlement in Oshakati, said she decided to sell her unborn baby because she is unemployed and earns a meagre income through selling her body. This makes it difficult for her to care for a baby. And as per what we have come to expect from most Namibian men, the father of the baby refused to take responsibility for the pregnancy.
The Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare this week said that it deemed the actions of this woman as well as the decision of the newspaper to publish the advert, illegal and unethical. The ministry stated that individuals who either try to sell their children or invite others to give up their children for adoption, are engaging in human trafficking and exploitation and such individuals are making themselves guilty of an offence.
After reading the statement issued by the ministry – and please correct me if I am wrong – I understood that children are only legitimate for adoption if they have lost one or both parents, been abandoned, neglected or abused, have special needs such as those who are HIV positive or living with disabilities.
Now I understand why one cannot find a legitimate adoption agency anywhere in this country. I can’t help but wonder whether our government has ever considered the fact that there might be children out there who do not fall under any of these categories as stipulated in the Children’s Act. Children who would be better off if they were put up for adoption.
Look at the number of street children for example, who have to beg for food or money every day, not knowing where their next meal will come from. Should a child first experience hardships before he/she will have the privilege to have a home and loving parents, even if they are just adoptive parents? What if a college student ends up pregnant but feels that she would like to concentrate on her studies and build a career and therefore would like to give up her child for adoption? I sometimes wonder whether our law makers ever think before they put these laws into practise because not all of them are realistic.
As a mother, I strongly condemn this woman’s decision to sell her child but we read everyday about babies being dumped by their mothers; some are lucky to be alive when found while others are not that fortunate. We always blame the women when something like this happens but the fathers are as responsible.
This woman was trying to find a good family for her baby but went about it the wrong way. Selling a child is wrong but it is definitely better then dumping or killing it. Maybe if the men responsible for impregnating these women stop being cowards and man up, women will stop doing stupid things such as dumping their babies or trying to sell them.
The men who impregnate women who resort to such desperate acts as dumping or aborting their babies, should also be prosecuted. I think the fathers are as responsible for this horrible crimes as the mothers who commit them.

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