People sell all kinds of things online, but a case in Indonesia has law enforcement officials scratching their heads. According to CNN, police in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta have arrested four people who were attempting to sell babies on Instagram.
The child-selling group had been active for over a year and had an Instagram account with 700 followers. Among them were pregnant women or women with children they were willing to sell into adoption. Women posted pictures of their children, of ultrasounds and of themselves. Each child was given an identifying number and account users were advised to contact the group to arrange for payment and pickup of the child.
The group’s ringleader is a mother of 22 who posted pictures of her own 11-month-old baby with offers to sell it. A buyer in Bali, Indonesia’s famous resort island, contacted the woman with a monetary offer.
Another woman posted a picture of herself along with the information that she was hoping to find a buyer for her baby before her family discovered that she was pregnant. Police were alerted to the transaction before any money or children could change hands.
The director of the National Commission for Child Protection (KPAI) in Indonesia noted that it’s become easier to conduct illegal business dealings online. Accounts like Facebook and Instagram allow users to operate in secret and often below the radar of law enforcement.
In this case, someone tipped off law enforcement that the group, which went by the name Private Heart Consultation and advertised itself as an adoption agency, was actually planning to sell children.
Indonesian police arrested two people in Jakarta and two in Bali. The four people arrested are awaiting trial. Each could get up to 15 years in prison.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says that over 100,000 Indonesian children are illegally trafficked every year.