the souq or market in the old town of Cairo the capital of Egypt in north africa Image Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Egypt: An advertisement on a Facebook group in Egypt offering a child up for sale has sparked public outrage.

The post by a woman with the profile name Hana Mohammad said, “If there is anyone who is interested to adopt an unborn baby, who will be born in 2 weeks. Adoption directly from the mother and father please contact me through private message. Serious people only. (sic)”

The Facebook post was found on the “Adopt a Child” page.

One shocked Facebook user contacted the woman to confirm her intentions. She replied “selling price is 2,000 Egyptian pounds (Dh400) nonnegotiable”.

The ‘potential’ buyer then contacted authorities through Egypt’s child helpline, run by the National Council For Childhood and Motherhood, and reported the incident. The council sent the complaint over to the prosecutor-general’s office.

Alexandria police agents carried forward the investigation by contacting the woman. This time, the husband answered and confirmed that the offer was still on. He asked those interested to wait for about two weeks, which is when his wife was scheduled to give birth.

In the meantime, the police readied the money asked for. When the time came, an agent went to meet the couple, to see the baby girl.

The parents have since been arrested; the father is 30 years old and works in a café. The baby girl on sale is the couple’s second child.

While he has refused to disclose the motive behind the proposed sale, the father will be given a paternity test. The woman, in the meantime, is in hospital and under police custody.

The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood announced in a statement that “the council formed a team from the child helpline to give medical support to the newborn child and follow-up with investigations from the Alexandria Prosecution”.

Human traffiking a problem?

The council previously submitted a complaint to the Human Rights Administration and the General Directorate of Juvenile care within the Ministry of Interior in February, accusing a Facebook page, “Missing Children”, of promoting the sale of Egyptian children online.

Back in February, a website dedicated to selling children of all ages sent shockwaves across the Egyptian society. “We have children for sale of all ages for those interested in adoption or buying,” read a statement on the website. Prices varied depending on gender, skin colour, heath conditions, eye and hair colour, and an array of other physical characteristics.

Police investigations lead them to the website, which was found to be operated by an Arab citizen residing in the Netherlands, and a human trafficking ring operating in Egypt that was abducting children.