Workers at Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity have been accused of selling babies born to unwed mothers to childless couples.
Indian police arrested a nun and a staff member at a Missionaries of Charity center in India’s eastern Jharkland state after it was discovered the two were involved in baby trafficking.
“At least five to six babies have been sold to childless couples,” a police officer told Reuters. “We are investigating to see how the operation was run and how many more children have been given away in the last few years.”
Jharkland’s child protection services say the center for unwed mothers charged about $600 for each baby. An Indian couple claimed they paid the equivalent of $1,760 to get a baby from the charity.
An official with Missionaries of Charity said the group was shocked to discover what was happening at its Jharkland center, which was meant to provide shelter for pregnant unmarried women.
“We are completely shocked by what has happened in our home… It should have never happened,” said the Missionaries of Charity organization in a statement. “It is against our moral convictions. We are carefully looking into the matter. We will take all the necessary precautions that this kind of incident never happens again,” a statement added.
The scandal came to light this week when a social worker discovered that a newborn was missing from the home and notified authorities. Police have since sealed the center.
Mother Teresa, who died in 1997, started Missionaries of Charity in 1950 with some 3,000 nuns serving worldwode. The group runs hundreds of shelters across India providing care for some of the world’s neediest.