At least two infants are missing from an orphanage run by nuns in Lebanon, after authorities carried out an overnight raid of the Couvent Mission De Vie following reports of child trafficking and child abuse, local media reported.
A court had ordered the centre to hand over children in its care, following months-long investigation that revealed child trafficking and child abuse, but the nuns had refused to release the children.
A raid of the centre, located in Antelias, north of Beirut, on Friday resulted in the arrest of at least two nuns, according to local media, as police rescued the children but were unable to located two newborns.
A video of the raid and arrest of the nuns circulated on social media platforms.
The investigation, which was leaked to Al Akhbar newspaper, reported abuse against children including sexual assault, harassment, forcing them to watch pornographic videos and feeding children expired foods.
The centre had also refused to receive social workers who wanted to assess the well-being of the minors following reports of child abuse, Al Akhbar reported.
Child trafficking was also investigated following reports that children were being sold "according to the colour of their skin", the newspaper reported.
"$30,000 for a fair child and $15,000 for a child with darker skin" the newspaper said, citing anonymous sources.
Children placed in the centre's care were unidentified homeless minors found on the street.
UNICEF Lebanon said it was "following up with great concern the terrible news about child abuse and trafficking in Lebanon".
"We call all residential care institutions and national authorities to protect and safeguard every child at all times."
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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