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Abandoned Children as Game Show Prizes In Pakistan!

Giving away babies on TV -- evil, or just a way for a country with no adoption protocols to help the unwanted?

by
Sarah Hoyt

Bio

August 12, 2013 - 7:00 am

 A Real, Live Baby!

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A good definition of evil is where we forget humans are humans and treat them as things. And if that’s the case, there’s a new Pakistani game show that is as evil as can be: A game show host in Pakistan has defended his decision to give away abandoned babies to childless couples live on TV.

No, I am not joking, nor would I be about something like this. And while I know that CNN – layers and layers of fact checkers – is not a good authority, CNN reported it.

Apparently abandoned children are being picked up by an organization and turned over to this show to give away to childless parents. The talk show host defends his actions this way:

Aamir Liaquat Hussain, who has handed out two baby girls so far, denied the giveaways were a publicity stunt.

He claimed the babies would have been ”eaten by cats or dogs” had they not been discovered by the show.

Is he claiming this is what normally happens when babies are not picked up by this organization? Or when they’re not turned in to his show as a giveaway?  Is he claiming this is the only way for a society to deal with its unwanted babies?

I don’t know. Maybe these children will be loved and cherished as they deserve to be. But starting out by being treated as things and handed out as a prize doesn’t seem the way to start that relationship with their adoptive parents.

Terry Pratchett, notably in I Shall Wear Midnight says evil starts with treating people as things.  I’m not sure as a universal rule, but certainly treating people as things is a bad way of looking at them. Because people – children or not – aren’t things. They have quirks, and ideas of their own, and wants, and there will be difficult times ahead for these families.

We all know about lottery winners and easy comes easy goes when it comes to prizes – but what about when the prize is a baby?

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image  courtesy shutterstock / Lorelyn Medina

Sarah Hoyt lives in Colorado with her husband, two sons and too many cats. She has published Darkship Thieves and 16 other novels, and over 100 short stories. Writing non-fiction is a new, daunting endeavor. For more on Sarah and samples of her writing, look around at Sarah A. Hoyt.com or check out her writing and life blog at According to Hoyt.com.

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All Comments   (2)
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One report I saw on this said that the parents who "won" had already been screened and approved by a child placement agency. It's not like they won a baby just because they said Pakistan Groucho's "secret word".

Assuming this is true, I'm kind of torn on the issue. On the one hand, it's at least partially just a ratings gimmick. On the other, it has the potential of encouraging other prospective adoptive parents in that country to adopt a child.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let's assume the host's intentions are pure, and they're giving these children to loving parents.

This will create a market for babies. Those who procure babies will be incentivized to provide babies, and less scrupulous people will find them at any cost.

What's the screening process for contestant "parents"? Are people who would participate in a game show to win a baby really the type of people you want to be responsible for other human beings?

Of course, your question about the evil of treating humans as things is the big philosophical question, but I just wanted to throw some basic "how can this work" at the situation.

This game show host should be the poster-child for unintended consequences. I imagine as soon as someone realizes that certain babies are preferred over other types of babies (infant/toddler, boy/girl, blue eyes/brown eyes), that's the type of baby the procurers will attempt to provide. What happens when they can't get the "desired" type?
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
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