In August 2012, two of my sisters took me to a private home for pregnant, unwed Muslim women. I was asked to strip in a room for examination. I was only allowed to take a few of my things with me. I was then asked to sign a document without reading it.

In the document I noticed a column asking if I will voluntarily hand over my baby but it was not filled in. I pleaded with my sisters not to give away my child as I wouldn't be able to live without him.

I entered the centre with a heavy heart. I was hoping that my father would keep his word, that he would take care of my baby. I was made to understand that I needed to pay 3,500 ringgit (about $810) if I wanted my child back. I had already paid 1,300 ringgit (about $300) for lodging.

I was shocked to see many more girls in my situation at the centre. That first night I was told by the others that the centre was a syndicate that sells babies. I was shocked and emotional as I was worried my child will suffer the same fate. They were told that the babies would be given away to others automatically if their families did not accept them.

I prayed day and night that my family would accept my baby. We were not allowed to contact our family members. I tried asking a cleaner at the clinic once to help me call home but she reported me to the staff and I was monitored closely after that.

If we did not follow the routine, we were beaten. Even a disabled inmate was beaten once. We were made to take compulsory cold baths at about 1am to 2am. If we refused, we were punished.

Two days before I delivered my baby, I was taken to a clinic. I was induced.

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After I gave birth, I was taken to see my baby boy. I held him close to me and wondered how I was going to live without him. Love was flowing from my heart and I felt it could be the last time I would see him. I cried continuously as I kept thinking of losing my child to someone else.

A day after the birth, I was taken back to the centre. I was carrying my child but we were soon parted. I pleaded with them to take good care of him. I tried to look in the nursery for him but I could not see his cot.

Four days after the birth, the staff told me that my family did not want my baby. It was heart-breaking for me. I pleaded with them to ask my family to take the baby. They ignored me. I collapsed and my friends had to carry me back to my room.

That night I was taken to the office, where I saw a couple. The woman was holding my child. I became numb. I grabbed him from her. She asked my name and told me she was a teacher from Johor, a state in the south of Malaysia.

I told her about my family's promise to keep the child. I told them I was hoping that I could continue seeing him. She agreed but said I could not take the child back.

I kept kissing my child. I did not have the heart to let him go but I had no choice as I did not have the money at that time to pay off the staff at the centre. I wanted to keep my child, even if I had to face social humiliation.

Then I saw the couple handing over a white envelope full of money. The lady then took my child from me. I cried non-stop. I felt I was losing half my life.

A few minutes later, she gave me 1,000 ringgit (about $230), which I refused to accept. I kept saying I did not want to sell my child and I did not need the money. She left with my baby.

I needed my child then - not money. You cannot equate my child with money. The money was kept by the staff. After a week I was asked to sign a letter saying I agreed to give him away. I was asked to sign it without reading it, and I was stopped from seeing the details of the adoptive parents.

I only managed to see the stamp on the document, which showed that it was from the National Registration Department. I asked the head of the centre what would happen if I refused to sign. She said that I would be in deep trouble.

After we were rescued by the Social Welfare Department, I harboured hopes of getting my child back. I prayed very hard for it as I missed him a lot.

I was taken back to my parents' home. I told them the whole story. My sister had called the centre to inquire about my wellbeing and was always told that I was doing well. She had also asked several times to keep my baby but they said they had to give up the child.

My family was shocked to hear that the child was given away at night without their knowledge.

I am still looking for my child although the chances of finding him are extremely slim. I applied for the birth certificate to be cancelled with the hope that when the adoptive parents tried to register my child, it will be rejected. But the National Registration Department has not replied.

I have no desire to take away the happiness of the family which adopted my child but I yearn to see him, even from afar. As long as I know my child is having a happy life, it is enough for me. Each time I hear of children being killed or abused or lost, I suffer because I wonder whether it is my son.

I am telling this story as I do not want other mothers to face the same fate.

This is an edited version of a mother's account of her time in a private Malaysian home for unmarried, pregnant Muslim women. The home was closed down by the government in 2012 after it was discovered that it was unlicensed.

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