A young, struggling couple has been detained in central China for allegedly trying to sell their baby daughter online for $9000 with the help of an agent.
The national public security ministry asked police in Hubei and Hunan provinces to work together to investigate the case cross-province child trafficking earlier this month. As of last Thursday, the suspects were all taken into custody.
The South China Morning Post reports:
The accused parents – a 19-year-old man surnamed Gao who works as a takeaway restaurant delivery driver and a 20-year-old woman surnamed Zhang, both from Hubei – felt under financial pressure having already had a son last year, Xishui police said via Weibo, China’s Twitter.
In April, the couple allegedly contacted an online agent in Hunan province surnamed Zhu, found a buyer for their daughter and sold her for 65,000 yuan (US$9,440), of which Zhu allegedly pocketed 20,000 yuan, according to the report.
The couple and agent remained in detention and had yet to be prosecuted, the report stated. It was unclear whether the alleged buyer of the daughter had been traced.
Under Chinese law, trafficking and selling women and children is commonly punishable by five to 10 years in prison, but life sentences or death penalties can also be issued.
Zhou Kai, a lawyer at Jiangsu Tianzhe law firm in Nanjing, noted that the agent may face an even longer sentence than the girl’s parents if this turns out to not be an isolated case. Additionally, under Chinese law, those guilty of purchasing a child could be jailed for up to three years.
The authorities are likely to see if the baby girl’s other relatives are able to raise her, explained Zhou, but if not she would be put up for adoption.