Several child care centers run by the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order founded by Mother Teresa, are under investigation for child trafficking in India.
Earlier this month, Sister Koncilia, a nun, and Anima Indwar, a social worker, at one of the order’s shelters for unmarried mothers in Ranchi, Jharkhand, were arrested after complaints were made against them for selling children from the shelter, the Associated Press reported.
Indwar has since admitted to selling four children, including a 6-month-old boy who was sold for just $730 (50,000 rupees), according to the Times of India, and all of the children have been located.
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The Missionaries of Charity previously ran orphanages from which married couples could adopt children. However, the charity ceased adoption services in 2015 after the Ministry of Women and Child Development said single, divorced, and separated people would be allowed to adopt children, saying that the new policy violated its religious beliefs.
Even when the charity did arrange adoptions, it never did so for money, a spokesperson for the Missionaries of Charity told the AP.Embed from Getty Images
Authorities first became aware of the situation after a couple who paid Indwar $1,760 (120,000 rupees) for a baby, who Indwar took back several weeks later without returning their money.
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The dozens of pregnant women who were living at the shelter when Indwar and the nun were arrested have been moved to a government-run home to prevent future incidents, and the police are continuing to investigate the situation, NPR reported.
The Indian government has called on state officials to investigate all child care facilities operated by the Missionaries of Charity throughout the country.