8-year-old refugee puts herself on sale online in Germany
Police in Löhne, Germany questioned a family of Lebanese refugees after an eight-year-old girl’s photo was published on shpock.com stating that she was for sale for $45,000.
The mobile app is a geographically-centered auction platform used by people wanting to quickly buy and sell within their own neighborhood.
One of the users alerted police when he found the alarming offer among the usual ads for old bicycles, used clothes, and home appliances.
Police traced the girl to a refugee home in Löhne, North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany, where she has been living with her parents and siblings for the past two years.
Police confiscated devices with internet access, and all of the children (aged three, eight, and 12) were taken in for questioning by child protective services.
The girl said the sale was her idea and that she did everything on her own, the Westfalen-Blatt reports.
It is remarkable, however, that she chose the hefty and rather specific price of $45,448, as children of that age rarely have much understanding of the value of money.
A police spokesperson told The Local that the seized mobile devices must still be analyzed to determine how and why the girl created the post.
The mayor of Löhne, Bernd Poggemöller, was disappointed that it was possible for an ad such as this to go online undetected by a filter of some kind.
“The children are now back with their parents. Of course, it raises questions when an eight-year-old girl does something like that. Our youth office will therefore take care of the family.” Poggemöller told the Westfalen-Blatt.
The case is reminiscent of an event which took place in Duisburg in October 2016, when a father was investigated for advertising his one-month-old baby for €5,000 on eBay, which he then said was a joke. A court ruled that he would only be allowed contact with his child under supervision.