A woman who attempted to sell her 19-month-old baby boy in an online classified and community board website Gumtree, has appeared in court on charges of human trafficking.
She was arrested on Thursday, Oct. 15, at the KFC in Chief Albert Luthuli Road, in Pietermaritzburg after an undercover agent arranged to buy the baby from her, said Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, spokesman for the Hawks special crimes investigation unit.
Police were tipped off that that the 20-year-old woman was offering her son for 5,000 rand (£245) in a disguised post offering a baby car seat.
“Gumtree South Africa’s customer service team was alerted that a young woman had placed an ad on the site advertising a child for sale,” company spokeswoman Claire Cobbledick said in a statement.
“The team immediately removed the ad and blocked the user’s account. We escalated the issue to the corporate office that engages law enforcement on suspected criminal cases.”
The woman, who initially denied being the child’s mother, appeared in court in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal province, on human trafficking charges, and her case was adjourned until October 26.
“We met her and there was an exchange of money with an undercover police officer,” Hangwani Mulaudzi said. “She gave us the money and we arrested her directly.” Police officer Mthokozisi Ngobese said he interviewed the mother, who explained why she wanted to sell her child.
“She said the father was not prepared to pay for the child anymore, so she wanted to get rid of the child,” he said.
The child is said to be in good health and has since been taken into care by social workers.