China, Nov 11: A migrant worker in China has been arrested for allegedly selling his newborn son to a stranger on the internet for 163,000 yuan (around INR 17.74 lakh) to support his family after he lost his job due to the economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The man, who was under immense financial strain, convinced his then-pregnant wife to illegally sell their baby to a woman who was said to have been “desperate” for a child, China’s Anhui Net reported.
According to a report by the local railway police, law enforcement authorities first learnt of the illegal transaction when the alleged buyer, a woman named Xu, caught their attention while riding a train with the 40-day-old baby late last month.
While travelling from Jiang’an County in south-western China’s Sichuan Province — where the baby’s biological parents live — to her home in Huoshan County, police officials asked her to disembark the train for questioning after they found her behaving suspiciously.
She initially told the police that she had adopted the baby, but eventually admitted that she had bought the newborn from his biological parents. The railway police immediately launched an investigation and interrogated the baby’s parents earlier this month, Daily Mail reported.
During questioning, the father of the baby revealed he had little choice but to sell his child after he lost his job and found that his wife was carrying an unplanned pregnancy. He initially approached a woman who already had three daughters of her own and wanted a son.
His first customer agreed to pay him 100,000 yuan (around INR 11.2 lakh), but the deal later fell through when the woman failed to register the identity of the baby with the police. This was when the man approached his second client — a woman who wanted a child but could not have one of her own.
According to the police, the woman remortgaged her house to purchase the baby from his biological parents. She travelled around 1,412 kilometres to meet the family and then gave them 163,000 yuan, a gold bracelet and a necklace in exchange for their son.
The child’s biological parents and the buyer have been detained by the police for suspected child trafficking. According to Chinese law, anyone found guilty of selling children can face a jail term of five to 10 years. In some cases, death penalty and life sentence are also handed out.