NEW DELHI: Consumerism has taken a vile turn lately, and Oscar Wilde’s lament, “they know the price of everything but value of nothing” has been mercilessly materialized in some of the “deals” which are being made in the Capital.

Delhi is fast becoming a marketplace for newborn babies and buyers are childless couples who don’t want to be bothered with bureaucratic harangues. It has been reported that most of the girls- the baby machines- hail from Jharkhand who are lured into the city on the pretext of a job and money, and then raped and forced to bear the child.

Most of the times it’s the placement agency owners and girls’ employers who keep girls as hostage till the time they give birth to a child. The price of the newborn ranges from 1 lakh to 4 lakh, depending on the stage of development in fetus.

"These placement agencies are treating girls and young women as baby-producing machines. The girls have alleged that the bidding for baby starts immediately after conception. If couples in a hurry want a newborn, they have to pay more," Baidyanath, a member of Diya Seva Sansthan, a Jharkhand NGO that is part of efforts to rescue such women, told Mail Today.

India Today reported the story of one Mala (name changed) who had come from her village in Jharkhand to work in the capital but her agent raped her and made her pregnant. She is only 15 years old. She called her mother after the atrocity and told her about the ordeal.

"Our daughter said she and some other girls are locked inside a dark room and not allowed to leave the agency premises. She has given birth to a child. She is barely 15 and, at such a young age, she has been forced to go through a horrifying experience," her mother told the same source.

Mala’s mother reported the matter to Child Welfare Committee (CWC) on May 7 and complained against the placement agency, which goes by the name ‘Jharkhand Manpower’.

There are other cases also which have come to light wherein young needy from Gumla, Jharkhand have been on the pretext of job made to bear the child.

Alakh Singh, a member of Jharkhand CWC, reportedly said to the same source that, “We received a complaint from two girls, aged 15 and 17 years, saying they were forced to bear babies. The committee has forwarded the matter to the police and an FIR will be registered soon. Our team is equally shocked to come across such cases."

According to a 2013 report by UN Office on Drug and Crime, Jharkhand figures among the hotspots for such a demented flesh trade. “Jharkhand is one of the most vulnerable states for trafficking of women and children. Much of the trafficking is done by placement agencies that are actually organised crime syndicates," the report stated.