Mother arrested for trying to sell babies on Instagram
(CNN) – Indonesian police have announced that they have ended a child trafficking operation that bought and sold babies on Instagram.
Four people were arrested, including a 22-year-old mother and an alleged 29-year-old broker in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, police said at a press conference on Sunday.
A midwife and an alleged buyer have also been arrested on the resort island of Bali.
Authorities have been alerted to an account on the popular photo-sharing site with the nickname “Konsultasi Hati Privat”, or Private Heart Consultation, which advertises itself as offering pregnancy consultations and adoption services.
However, police said they found evidence that currency transactions were underway.
Surabaya Police Criminal Investigation Unit chief AKBP Sudamiran said on Tuesday her team foiled an attempt by a 22-year-old mother identified as LA to sell her 11-month-old baby to a buyer in Bali, known as NS, using WhatsApp messaging service. The baby was reportedly offered for 15 million rupees (approximately $ 987).
The Instagram account was still active Friday morning and had more than 700 followers, for about a year. It has since been withdrawn.
Images featured on the page included black-and-white photos of ultrasounds, pregnant women, and babies with blurred faces.
In an image released on September 15, a baby, called C86, was shown next to information such as age, gender and religion. A contact number is provided with a message inviting those wishing to adopt or wishing to leave a child for adoption to make contact.
The account also featured screenshots of WhatsApp conversations between the account owner and pregnant women or mothers. In a conversation, a seven-month-pregnant woman says she is unmarried and wants to find someone to adopt her child and hide it until she gives birth so her family won’t know.
Indonesian National Commission for Child Welfare (KPAI) head Sustano, who like many Indonesians has only one name, said social media has changed the way traffickers do business. Business.
“In the past, the transaction was done in person and was usually arranged through an intermediary,” he said. “But now they are using new and more advanced methods, through social media like Instagram and Facebook. The cyber world has become a tool for promotion and transaction.”
Sustano says traffickers are attracted to social media because “it is considered to be more effective, the deal goes directly between the seller and the buyer, and it is not easy to be detected by the forces of order “.
“If the use of Instagram is proven in this case, it shows how traffickers are constantly adapting to new methods for their business,” added Amanda Bissex, head of child protection at UNICEF. She believes it is now important that the authorities “adapt their policy and legislative response to prevent such crimes, especially against children, girls and women.”
Indonesia is a major source, transit and destination country for human trafficking. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 100,000 children are trafficked each year in Indonesia, the majority being forced into the sex trade.
In its 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report, the US government ranked Indonesia at Level 2, saying the country “is not fully meeting minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.” However, Indonesia “was making significant efforts to do so”.
The four arrested face up to 15 years in prison for violating child protection laws.