Police have busted a child trafficking network operating on Instagram that was selling children and babies for as little as $1,000.
The Indonesia-based human traffickers were advertising infants for sale via an Instagram profile that offered young children for upwards of $1,375AUD ($1,000USD).
The Instagram page for the group had over 100 posts that openly advertised a variety of children and babies for sale.
Dailymail.co.uk reports: The biography of the page, which is still currently active, reads: ‘Helping to cover someone’s disgrace.’
A quartet of suspects were arrested in the Indonesian city of Surabaya this week, including the alleged operator of the page, a mother, a midwife and a suspected buyer.
The page has posted more than 100 times, featuring distorted pictures of young women and their babies that the operators were allegedly attempting to connect with potential buyers.
One post, published on September 15, shows a pregnant woman from the Indonesian city of Banjarmasin advertising her child in advance of its birth.
‘If you want to leave your child for adoption or want to adopt a child, contact us for the process,’ the accompanying text reads in Indonesian.
The more recent images of the babies and some of the women have been darkened to obscure their identities, while the earliest posts, dating to September 2017, had women wearing masks.
Under each of the posts is a contact number, with the page’s owners imploring women who also wish to sell their children to reach out to them.
Some posts are of WhatsApp conversations between the operators and those allegedly attempting to sell their children.
The children for sale aren’t given names, but rather letter and number codes.
According to a local publication, of the four people arrested by Indonesian police, one was 29-year-old Alton Phinandita Prianto, alleged to operate the Instagram page.
Another was a 22-year-old mother who allegedly worked with Prianto to sell her 11-month-old child.
Police were alerted to the Instagram page when it published an advertisement for the child.
They also arrested the 36-year-old who attempted to buy the child, as well as a 66-year-old midwife in Bali who they believe acted as a mediator.
Police say the mother tried to rationalise her decision to sell the baby, which was her third child, telling them she desperately needed money for her first child’s school fees.
She also said all three of her children were born out of ‘nikah siri’, a type of unregistered marriage that isn’t legally recognised in Indonesia.
The four suspects have been charged under Indonesia’s child protection laws, which could see each face a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment.
In the meantime, the mother’s three children will be placed in the care of their great-grandmother.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Instagram for comment.
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