Breast milk is in great demand by women who cannot feed their own babies in the US.
The UN children’s fund has strongly criticised the sale by a commercial company of breast milk bought from Cambodian mothers to women in the US, warning it could lead to the babies of poor and vulnerable women becoming malnourished. Unicef condemned the trade by Utah-based company Ambrosia Labs. Cambodia’s customs department said the finance minister, Aun Porn Moniroth, had signed a letter blocking further exports.
“Breast milk banks should never be operated by exploiting vulnerable and poor women for profit and commercial purposes,” said
Iman Morooka, of Unicef in Cambodia
. “Breast milk could be considered as human tissue, the same as blood, and as such its commercialisation should be banned. Malnutrition remains a threat to children’s wellbeing in Cambodia, and proper breastfeeding is one of the key factors contributing to a child’s good health and nutrition.”
There is a substantial online trade in breast milk in the US, where women advertise their expressed milk for sale. Many claim to eat only healthy food and be free from disease. Ambrosia, however, claims to offer a safer service, by importing breast milk on a large scale from women in Cambodia. The women are given blood tests to ensure they are healthy and the milk is shipped frozen and then sterilised once in the US. Ambrosia Labs employs about 30 women in slum areas to ‘donate’ milk.
Source: Selling mothers’ mik