MOSCOW, August 3. /TASS/. Ukrainian law enforcement authorities have uncovered a criminal scheme for trafficking in newborn children under the cover of surrogate motherhood, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office reports.
"At the procedural instructions of the Kiev Public Prosecutor’s Office, 12 members of a criminal organization have been charged with human trafficking (Articles 28.4, 149.3, 255.1, and 255.2 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code)," a statement on the prosecutor’s Telegram channel said.
According to the investigation, the criminal group consisted of 12 people. The trafficking scheme was masterminded by the heads of clinics providing reproductive health services in Kiev and Kharkov. The group also included medical staff, managers, administrators and a lawyer.
"Under the guise of a surrogate motherhood program, for monetary remuneration, they were selling newborn infants to foreign citizens residing in countries where surrogate motherhood is prohibited," the agency noted.
In turn, the Kiev Public Prosecutor’s Office clarified that, to date, five perpetrators have been detained. According to the law enforcement agency, facts concerning instances of the illegal trafficking of eight infants to destinations abroad have been established; information on 40 such cases is being verified. The amount of remuneration received by the traffickers ranged from 50,000 to 70,000 euros per child, while surrogate mothers received about 12,000 euros. If a woman disagreed with the terms of the deal, the perpetrators resorted to threats and intimidation, as well as paid out much less than promised, the public prosecutor’s office said on its website.
Ukraine is one of the few countries where surrogate motherhood is permitted. On August 1, Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said that, amid the burgeoning surrogate motherhood industry in Ukraine, crimes against children are receiving protection and support at the highest levels. He noted that thousands of Ukrainian women are compelled to become surrogate mothers for foreigners merely to survive.