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Underworld: upending an Asian baby farm

Fear stretch marks? Birth pains? An illegal surrogacy ring promises help.

Calls to Babe 101’s listed number were answered in Chinese. When a Thai speaker was handed the phone, she declined to offer her name but confirmed the business was now closed.

On its website, the company posted a guarantee to customers that “the protection of the law is absolutely. [sic] Hundred percent peace of mind, you have no worries.” On the site’s Chinese-language forum, a man identifying himself as the company’s founder also posted a lengthy defense claiming legal persecution.

“Baby 101 is not a scam and it does not harm nation or society,” the post reads. “Surrogacy is the only hope for infertile couples.”

The Vietnamese women taken from Babe 101 headquarters are now housed in a Thai government shelter. “They’re in good health,” said the social worker. “I’m trying to track down all of their families.”

But the case’s unprecedented complexities, particularly those surrounding the unborn infant’s rightful guardians, are likely to draw the women into lengthy police and legal proceedings. “They need to figure out everyone involved,” Robertson said, “including where the previous children may have gone.”

But that information may be hard to find, according to a line in Babe 101’s promotional pitch. The operation promises both surrogate moms and clients that they won’t have “any connection” and that “after the contract fulfilled, bilateral information will be destroyed.”