Woman Made Millions of Dollars By Stealing and Reselling Children

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Woman Made Millions of Dollars By Stealing and Reselling Children


Georgia Tann was known for operating the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, an orphanage located in Memphis, Tennessee, during the first half of the 20th century.  The media referred to her as “the foremost leading light in adoption laws.” Even Eleanor Roosevelt trusted her, consulting with Tann regarding child welfare. But behind her ‘noble’ deeds is one of the most bizarre and disturbing stories in history.


Georgia Tann / Photo Credit: Ranker


For more than 25 years, Tann kidnapped children and profited off of the poor. According to Ranker, a digital media company located in Los Angeles, she separated more than 5,000 children from their parents between 1924 and 1950, many of whom were from poor and unwed mothers. Tann and her network of social workers would look for kids as victims. She was able to legally separate parents from their children with the help of her connections in politics, citing neglect.


Photo Credit: Ranker


Under Tann’s care at the orphanage, hundreds of unwanted and unadoptable children died due to neglect and starvation. It was believed that some of them may still be buried where she worked. According to Histecho, an online site that brings readers close to the human past with stories from every corner of the world, a book was written about Tann’s story titled “The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption.” It was written by Barbara Raymond, who spent years studying and investigating the life of Tann.


Photo Credit: Ranker


“She had no respect for children when they were poor. She did not treat them well. Children died in her care,” Raymond said. One of the most bizarre things she found out was that Tann allegedly molested some of the girls she abducted. She also sold teenagers to single men who were possible pedophiles. Aside from that, she would instruct older children to sit on men's laps and say "daddy." She developed a marketing strategy and paid for ads with the child's face in newspapers, looking for prospective parents. Unfortunately, Tann died from uterine cancer before being prosecuted for her crimes. 



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