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ICYMI: Baby Trade and the story of the missing decuplets so far

The Baby Trade – Tracking the Truth… because the truth should never be trafficked.

The Baby Trade – Tracking the Truth… because the truth should never be trafficked.

Published Jan 7, 2022

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What is human trafficking?

Selling children to childless couples? Selling children without knowing what will happen to them? Selling children to people who specifically buy children? Giving them up for adoption because you don't want them or can't afford them? Being an incubator for foetuses used in medical research?

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Baby Trade – tracking the truth, is a compelling new digital docuseries produced by Independent Media that delves into this complex, emotional, and downright ugly subject.

Most of us live blissfully unaware that the buying and selling of human beings into slavery, the sex trade - any form of exploitation – is happening on our doorstep. For many, though, it is an all too stark reality.

When Pretoria News editor Piet Rampedi reported on the miraculous birth of decuplets to a Tembisa woman, Gosiame Sithole, he unwittingly unleashed a maelstrom of attention on the subject, the result of which is Baby Trade…Tracking the Truth.

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The absence of official registration of the births of these babies and lack of records of them being at any hospital, should have raised questions and led to other media houses delving into the topic. After all, why would anyone go to the extraordinary lengths of claiming to be pregnant, claiming to give birth to not one, not two but 10 babies and have it publicly declared, if it was not true? The risk of being found out in such a giant lie would seem too great.

Yet, instead of this being a red flag that should have resulted in further investigation and probing, the story was met with blanket denial by Government (after first congratulating the mother and father), and cries of fake news from other media sources. Gosiame was branded as a mad woman and a liar.

In the face of ridicule and smelling that something was just not right, Independent Media did its own digging. ‘Baby Trade – Tracking the Truth’ is an eight-part mini-documentary, which can be watched on Independent Media’s digital channels. Four of the episodes – embedded here – have been released with a further four expected to drop from January 2022.

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The docuseries tells the story of the Tembisa 10 from the perspective of the characters involved in the saga. It also presents interviews with several experts on various subjects including that of trafficking.

A quick summary of the episodes to date:

Episode One – The Crisis:

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Sets the scene and shows how trafficking in South Africa is so much of a problem that the 2021 Trafficking in Persons report, has downgraded South Africa to the Tier Two watch list because amongst a list of infractions and lapses, authorities have simply not done enough (and in some cases nothing at all), to combat trafficking.

Episode Two – The Tembisa Three:

The emotional heart-wringing story of Sipho Mzolo’s encounter with ‘Maude’ Sithole (also known as Modiehi or Gosiame), the birth of his triplets with her at Steve Biko Academic Hospital (with no records), and their subsequent disappearance. This episode also subtly introduces a new character to the story and one who is potentially the lynchpin for the entire trafficking scenario being explored through Gosiame Sithole’s story.

Episode Three – Madonna – All is Well:

It’s Gosiame Sithole’s turn to talk…. the mother of 17 children (that we know of), and in this episode viewers get to know a little more about the woman who made international headlines. With so much to say, we know she will be making further appearances in episodes to come.

Episode Four – Teboho’s Tale:

The last of the episodes released in 2021, meets Teboho Tsotetsi, the man who believes he is the father of the Tembisa 10, who fell in love with Gosiame Sithole and who… has…never seen his children…

Baby Trade is a must watch, if only from being open to seeing a different perspective on the Tembisa 10 story, baby trafficking and how quickly joy can turn to deep sorrow.

Click here for the playlist of all Episodes in the series.

Independent Media will be releasing new episodes from mid-January 2022. These will include a continuation of Teboho’s search for the missing Gosiame and what happened next, the revelation of a figure who has been integral to all the episodes to date, further interviews with experts in their fields - medico-legal, infertility and the like; as well as shining a light on others who operate in the shadows and who whose questionable practises gave rise to the investigation that prompted: Baby Trade…Tracking the Truth…because the truth, should never be trafficked!

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