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Alexander Feskov, founder of a network of clinics in Ukraine and Western Europe. In Ukraine, he has been prosecuted for human trafficking. Photo credit: www.feskov.ua
Prague

Ukrainian human trafficking ring with newborns exposed

A Czech media portal has uncovered further mafia structures linked to Ukraine. This case is about human trafficking of newborns and outright surrogacy slavery. At least 30 babies have been illegally sold to foreigners in the Czech Republic since 2019 after they were born in Prague by Ukrainian surrogate mothers.

Published: August 10, 2022, 10:47 am

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    The trail was uncovered by Czech outlet Seznam Zprávy leading to one of the centers of the surrogacy industry, Kharkiv, Ukraine, as well as to the Feskov-Human Reproduction Group agency, which has branches in Prague and Kiev. The operator of the clinic, Alexander Feskov, has had to answer for human trafficking there since last year.

    Six employees of the baby farm are said to have earned 1,2 million euros from the trade in unborn and newborn babies. Prague, according to criminologists, is a sort of logistical center for the entire business.

    Ever since Asian countries banned commercial surrogate motherhood in 2015, exposing the exploitation of the system by foreigners and the abuse by intermediary agencies, the Ukrainian surrogacy industry has been thriving. According to the Medical and Reproductive Law Center in Kiev, in 2019 hundreds of children were born via surrogate motherhood. Ukraine is one of the few countries where surrogate motherhood is legal and commercial.

    Customers as so-called contract parents were able to save themselves the long journey to pick up the babies in the Ukraine. In this way, stricter laws in the EU area could be circumvented.

    Although Ukrainian law only allowed infertile and married couples to use surrogacy, according to Seznam Správy, Feskov’s clientele also included single men who wanted to have children as well as homosexual couples from all over the world.

    Victims were not only the babies but also the Ukrainian surrogate mothers who then gave birth to their children in the Czech Republic. They were forced to pose as biological mothers after having to give up their parental rights in favor of foreigners. The costs for a “pick-up-ready” child amounted to 60 000 to 70 000 euros. The surrogate mother only received around 10 000 euros, which is about three times the amount of an average Ukrainian annual salary.

    The Czech National Center Against Organized Crime (NCOZ) – with the support of police authorities in Ukraine, Great Britain and Sweden – documented cases of babies being sold via Prague to Norway, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, Spain and the US.

    Vienna Institute of Medical Anthropology and Bioethics (IMABE) director Susanne Kummer highlighted the same worrying development in Germany, in an interview with Austrian Kronen Zeitung where the FDP, SPD and Greens are currently exploring options to legalize egg donation and “altruistic” surrogacy.

    What is particularly frightening is that it was never checked who had “ordered” the babies, whether the clients could properly care for a newborn, or whether they could possibly even pose a danger to the child.

    Czech child protection a sham

    Zdenek Kapitán, director of the Office for International Child Protection in the Czech Republic, citing official figures, said the vast majority of the children were boys of up to five years old. He admitted that they had no idea why this was the case and said he could only “speculate” on the reasons.

    In fact, when cornered, Kapitán, the “expert” on how Czech laws deal with surrogate motherhood – that is, for situations where a foreign woman carries the embryo of biological parents who cannot have offspring in the normal way – promised to collaborate with the police. However, the collaboration ended in failure. “He didn’t deliver any documents and then he stopped communicating with us completely,” said state attorney Martina Adámková, who oversees the case.

    His office apparently has detailed information from the registers that described the trade in children. Czech authorities have been equally slow in dealing with the scourge.

    Police detectives approached the Ministry of Health, which claimed that surrogate motherhood and child trafficking did not fall under its purview at all. Ministry officials maintained that this was a problem for the Ministry of Justice or the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, which, by the way, the police had also approached to seek redress.

    The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs then pointed to the Ministry of the Interior to apply the law on surrogacy.

    Meanwhile, the Feskov network had totally dispensed with the strict requirements that are usual elsewhere for potential adoptive parents.

    Even single men are said to have taken babies into “care” in Prague for a fee. The oldest customer was 66 years old. Some of the customers actually directly stated that they did not know how to take care of the child.

    According to the Czech police, despite the Feskov dealer ring that has since been blown, the business of “producing” children in Ukraine continues: wealthy homosexuals clients from all over the world who want children can choose the type of child they want from the Kharkiv clinic catalogue. Even requests for race, skin color, hair tone and even identical twins are taken into account.

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