Los Angeles 'Baby Broker' ring smashed

Oxnard Press-Courrier
April 21, 1948

Los Angeles (U.P.) - Two middle-aged women were held by police as "babt brokers" today after three unmarried girls admitted selling their children at prices up to $1,000.

Church Worker Mrs. Marie Chaplin, 51, the alleged ringleader, denied she was anything but a "good samaritan."

She told police she was doing her Christian duty caring fro unmarried girls and introducing them to childless couples.

Her second cousin, Mrs. Ida Drucker, 53, also was arrested on the charge of selling human beings.

District Attorney William E. Simpson said that after three months spent investigating the baby market they had traced the sale of six babies and were on the trail of dozens more.

His assistant, John Barnes, said the persons who purchased the children would be permitted to keep them if they start adoption proceedings. They all insist they will, he said.

Simpson said the baby ring operated in cooperation with a social worker who supplied the names of unmarried mothers who might sell their children.

He said Mr. Chaplin offered a standing $10 commission per name.

The two women cared for the mothers-to-be before the births and paid the hospital expenses. The girls registered under the names of the prospective foster mothers so the birth certificates would be made out to the "buyer"

The infants brought as high as $800 to $1,000, and twins sold for $1,200, Simpson said. About hald the price went for medical expenses.

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