One group of racketeers in Mumbai were stealing babies by convincing single mothers, who are heavily stigmatized in India, to sell their babies rather than surrender them to the government. Another group in West Bengal partnered with local clinics, who told women their children were stillborn and then sold the newborns. Indian police reported that some mothers were even presented with stillborn infant corpses that the clinic had preserved, to further the illusion.
In addition to criminal gangs, adoption agencies have also contributed to baby trafficking in India. Two agencies in Marahashtra, the state that houses the city of Mumbai, were shut down in 2016 for selling babies that had been placed under their care.
India has strict adoption laws, with India's Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) reporting an average of a year's wait between an application and a successful adoption. The trafficking epidemic in India has led to the number of families wishing to adopt outnumbering children available for adoption by a measure of six to one. As wait times increase, prospective parents turn to black-market babies, making the problem self-perpetuating.
Sunil Arora, president of India's Federation of Adoption Agencies, suggested that police could better counter this trend by focusing their efforts on Indian states with low adoption figures, as the lower rate may be explained by a greater degree of baby trafficking.
Although exact numbers are unknown, India is seen as being among the highest for incidences of human trafficking. Reports of human trafficking in India increased 25 percent in 2015, and 40 percent of all cases involved children. The United States State Department identifies India as a "Tier Two" nation, indicating that their government does not "fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act's (TVPA) minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to [do so]. "Tier Three nations", "whose governments do not fully meet the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so" include, according to the government branch, Haiti, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Venezuela.