Selling Babies On-line

by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Writer

(May 29, 2008) The past week has seen two cases of parents trying to sell their babies on popular on-line auction sites.

On Saturday, May 25, authorities in the southern German town of Krumbach took custody of a seven month-old boy after his parents posted an ad on eBay offering to sell him for one euro ($1.57).

“Offering my nearly new baby for sale, as it has gotten too loud,” the ad read. “It is a male baby, nearly 28 inches (70 cm) long and can be used either in a baby carrier or a stroller.”

Police said no offers were made for the child in the two hours and 30 minutes the ad appeared on the site before eBay deleted the posting. Several people who saw the ad before it was removed alerted police.

When questioned, the child’s 23 year old mother said the ad was only a joke, but authorities weren’t laughing when they decided to launch an investigation into possible child trafficking against her and the 24 year-old father of the child, neither of whom was identified.

The child remains in the custody of youth services.

The second case occurred in Vancouver, British Columbia on May 27 when a woman browsing the classified ads on Craigslist discovered an ad offering a seven-day-old baby for $10,000.

“A new baby girl, seven days old, healthy and very cute,” the ad read. “Can’t afford and unexpected. Looking for a good home. Please call ASAP.”

The woman called police who tracked the number, which turned out to be a stolen cell phone, to an apartment in downtown Vancouver. Officers found four adults inside, including the 26 year-old father and 23 year-old mother who was breast feeding the baby at the time.

“Of course, the first thing out of their mouth is, they said it was just a hoax,” said police constable Tim Flanning.

The baby’s parents were arrested and released, and the baby was removed from the home.

A spokeswoman for Craigslist told the Associated Press that it would not answer questions about the case, but said the site takes steps to ensure users are not breaking the law.

“Misuse of Craigslist for illegal purposes is absolutely unacceptable to us,” said Susan Best, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco-based site. “And we will work together with law enforcement until the perpetrators have been brought to justice.”

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