The “Tembisa 10” decuplets born in Johannesburg, South Africa were sold for human trafficking, according to a shocking new investigation.

The mother Gosiame Sithole made headlines in June claiming to have given birth to decuplets, a world record, but questions were raised when no pictures of the babies ever emerged. Now it seems there may be a darker scandal behind the story.

Speaking at a press conference Wednesday in Cape Town, South Africa, Independent Media CEO Dr. Iqbal Survé charged the decuplets were sold for adoption and even body parts and witchcraft:

“What we discovered was really devastating. What we discovered is that our State Hospitals are the epicenter of human trafficking and baby trafficking. We can say unequivocally this happens at Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Tembisa Academic Hospital, and George Mukhari Hospital,” said Survé,  chairman of one of Africa’s largest print and online media groups.

“We can say unequivocally that involved in this is Home Affairs, multiple ID’s and records of patients that don’t exist or disappear, babies that come in, mothers delivering twins who are told that one twin died and then the other is trafficked. Or very young, vulnerable black women told that their babies have died during delivery and the babies are trafficked.

“We were able to, at great risk to our journalists, deep-dive into the syndicates and uncover horrific stories of how these babies are trafficked. From Gauteng (former Johannesburg) to Mapumalanga (former Eastern Transvaal) through to West Africa and also to Europe and the United States. About 50% of the babies are given up for adoption, the other 50% are used for Muti (witchcraft) or cosmetic surgery. This has been a very dangerous investigation.”

The mother of the decuplets Gosiame Sithole was promised the full cost of a private hospital delivery if she agreed to put her ten babies up for adoption, Survé said. “We know all of the doctors involved.”

Independent Media will be publishing a 10-part video series documenting all the culprits involved, Survé said.

In South Africa’s Muti religion, the consumption of body parts, especially from live victims, is believed to hold powerful magic. Up to 300 people are sacrificed every year in South Africa so that their body parts can be used in traditional Muti medicine, an ABC Australia documentary found in 2005. Most of these are young children, tortured to death.

“It’s done while she’s still alive because the more she screams, the more powerful the Muti’s going to be,” explained crime expert Kobus Jonker in the ABC documentary, gesturing at the picture of a mutilated six-year-old girl. Jonker was the first South African to acknowledge Muti murders and set up a special police unit to deal with it in 2005, but Muti murders are notoriously hard to prosecute.

Cannibalism is not a crime in South Africa. The ANC government has recognized the Muti religion as a legitimate medical practice eligible for state funding.