Indonesia has busted a child trafficking ring that offered babies for sale on Instagram, arresting four people including a potential buyer from the resort island of Bali.
Police began investigating after finding suspicious social media posts offering adoption services for mothers who gave birth to children out of wedlock.
A man accused of operating the Instagram account and a 22 year old mother who allegedly put her child up for adoption were both arrested last week.
A midwife and the potential buyer were also arrested when police intercepted the sale last week in Surabaya City.
Police said the mother wanted to sell her 11-month old third child because she was in debt. The baby was sold for 15 million rupiah (RM4,116).
According to the baby’s mother, the baby was the result of an affair. Giving birth out of wedlock is highly stigmatised in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, and single mothers are sometimes shunned by their family.
The account was still active on Friday with more than 760 followers.
It had posted dozens of black and white photos of ultrasounds and mothers whose faces were partially obscured to hide their identity.
The page claims to offer “family solutions” and lists the personal details of women offering to sell their children , including their age, religion, stage of pregnancy and health.
Potential adopters were asked to contact account administrators via WhatsApp.
The four suspects face up to 15 years in prison under Indonesia’s child protection law.