‘Meet your new daddy!’ Israeli couple arrested for trying to sell their baby to pay gambling debt

© Michaela Rehle
A couple from Jerusalem has been detained for trying to sell their three-month-old daughter for 100,000 shekels ($26,000) to pay gambling debts. The father “advertised” the baby as healthy, but a physical exam showed that she suffered from severe neglect.

“Meet your new daddy,” the father, 30, told his daughter giving her to an undercover police officer just a moment before he was arrested, Israeli media reported. His wife, 27, was also detained upon suspicion of helping and abetting her husband.

Police launched the investigation last week after obtaining information than a man was looking for a buyer for his daughter. The inquiry revealed that the man, who was a compulsive gambler and owed about $500,000 to various creditors, wanted to sell his baby to cover at least part of the debt.

An undercover police officer contacted, texted and met with the suspect several times posing as a potential customer. According to Israel Hayom the “seller” tried to persuade the officer that the toddler was healthy and vaccinated.

The suspect also said that his wife had been aware of the possible deal and tried to accelerate the bargaining by saying that there was another couple ready to buy the baby. The existence of another possible customer was later refuted.

During the last meeting the parties signed a contract and the officer paid a deposit of 5,000 shekels ($1,288) for the toddler. The father was arrested immediately after the baby was given to the policeman.

The baby was handed over to Jerusalem municipal welfare workers. Her physical exam showed that she suffered from severe neglect.

Her father has now been charged with human trafficking, trafficking of a minor and child neglect. He denies the allegations saying that he had never wanted to sell his daughter and the whole episode was a scam to make some quick cash. His wife, according to The Times of Israel, will be granted conditional release after the end of the inquiry.