Recently in the print, video, audio, social and gutter media, there was a story about a 27-year-old woman who was detained by police in Nairobi for attempting to sell a new-born child to undercover journalists. It was hot news.
Here at Pro Bono Publico, we cannot purport to be moral judges of the whys and why nots of selling own children. We have moralists for that. All that we ask is whether, by dint of the way the story was reported, there is the possible violation of the woman’s rights by the good meaning journalist.
For one the splashing of her images all over the media leaves her with little hope of fair trial should the case end up in court. The stigma associated with the apparent lack of apathy for one’s own child is likely to influence the prosecution, the defence and the judging. Furthermore, even if the case is not tried in a court of law the trial and condemnation by public opinion leave her ostracised by society.
Secondly, the process of uncovering the story appears too close to a violation of the law on the part of the “investigators”. Criminal law requires that one does not breach a law in the name of testing whether the law works or whether the law enforcers are alert. Well, the “investigators” in this case did try to cover their backs by calling in the police officers at the end of the sting operation. But by then maybe the law had already been broken.
Also one cannot induce another to break a law then arrest the person for breaking the law. If the journalist procured and enticed a broker and commissioned the broker to go and torment a suffering mother into selling her infant, then oh no! You cannot do that. It is called entrapment and it is against the law.
But, that is only the law.
As for the journalist, it is definitely unethical to entice someone who is suffering mental anguish and contemplating many options to get herself out the anguish to take an option that would violate the law.
Are there any pro bono advocates out there to look into this case? Fida Kenya?