Can’t put a price on love? This couple disagrees.
A Yangzhou husband and wife managed to turn a profit last month after putting their baby up for sale on the popular Chinese instant messenger, QQ. Placing a 40,000 yuan so-called “Nutrition fee” on the newborn, the pair sealed the deal three times over and took payments from families in the nearby Jiangsu cities of Changzhou and Yancheng, before finally passing their little bundle of joy on to a couple in Shanghai who paid 60,000 yuan for the child.
When questioned by police as to why she put her baby up for adoption, the 31-year-old mother, Mo Jicheng, explained that her family had already been suffering from financial difficulties before she discovered that she was pregnant again with her fourth child. Putting the newborn up for auction on QQ, they promised to send the child over to whoever paid the nutrition fee, but happily took payments from three different couples.
At this point, it’s not clear what will happen to the parents or the child, local police are investigating.
In China, there is a fine line between adoption and selling babies for profit, and instant messengers such as QQ have become an excellent storefront for child traffickers. With China’s underground baby market booming, it is unsurprising that the country has slumped once again on the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) index.
Legal adoption in China can be a complex and lengthy process, and so group chats like
the one that this family used are an attractive option for parents who do not qualify under Chinese regulations. Some groups also trade in fake birth certificates. However, with online anonymity, it is almost impossible to tell if the birth parents are who they say they are.
By Sebastian Morgan
[Images via Mon Petit Chou Photography]
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