Facebook is basically integrated into every part of our lives. You use it to catch up on friends’ lives, meet people, find events, message people – but in a strange and more than a little unsettling story that has emerged from India – it’s also a place where people go to sell live human babies online. Yep. Someone was trying to sell a baby on Facebook.
Three people have been arrested in Punjab, India, following an investigation in the attempted sale of a baby through the social media site, according to reports. If that’s not disturbing enough, the details of the case may unnerve you about the entire event. The unnamed infant boy was indeed sold to a Delhi-based businessman via Facebook for 800,000 rupees (roughly $14,750 USD), but that sale was actually the third time the baby had been sold during his short life.
Shortly after the baby was born, he was abducted by Feroz Khan, his grandfather, who told his daughter Noori that her son was stillborn. Khan then allegedly went on to sell the child to a hospital nurse for just 45,000 rupees ($830 USD), who then re-sold the baby at a significant mark-up (300,000 rupees, or around $5,500) to a lab assistant, Gurpreet Singh, who worked at the same hospital. Singh then advertised the baby for sale on Facebook.
Amazingly, the whole plot was only uncovered when Noori, the child’s mother, became suspicious when her father was suddenly much wealthier than he had been previously; she filed a police complaint against Khan, which eventually led to the uncovering of the sordid affair and, thankfully, Noori being reunited with her son.
According to Ishwar Singh, the police commissioner in the city of Ludhiana (where all of this unfolded), Khan wasn’t selling off the baby for money; he was doing it so that his daughter wouldn’t have a child to look after when he tried to arrange a new marriage for her following the divorce of her first marriage. “He though he should get rid of the child of [his] daughter from her first husband by selling him off,” he explained.
Khan, Singh, and the unnamed nurse have all been arrested and remain in police custody, but the businessman who “bought” the baby remains free, reports explain. The reason that the baby was recovered was simply that the businessman hadn’t arrived to the meeting to collect his purchase, it seems; he was apparently in the city at the time of the arrests. The three are facing charges of kidnapping and sentences of up to seven years in prison. Facebook, as yet, has not issued a statement about events. Not the first time this happened of course; last month, a 22-year-old Oklahoma woman tried to sell her baby on Facebook as well.