Iranian police has arrested three men on suspicion of trying to sell two babies on Instagram for between $2,000 and $2,500.
The babies had already been “purchased” for $500 each. One of them was just 20 days old, the other two months, according to Tehran’s police chief, Brig-Gen Hossein Rahimi.
One of the arrestees allegedly told the cops that he was “getting babies from poor families” and “handing them over to families who could provide a better future”. According to ISNA news agency, one of the three arrested claimed to be unemployed and without money and to have acted only as an intermediary.
Police chief Rahimi told local media that police officers had been alerted to advertisements selling babies on Instagram.
The officers uncovered “10 to 15 such pages” on the photo-sharing service and found the two babies with the three arrestees, he added. The babies were handed over to social services.
Iran Focus described the horrific trade as a “social problem that has spread its ominous shadow over the Iranian family and society during the rule of the wilayat al-Faqih regime”.
Parliament member Soheila Jeloudarzadeh said Iran struggles to get to grips with actual stats, due to the secretive nature of the trade.
This is not the first such case uncovered by the authorities in Iran.
BBC news reported that earlier this year, Iranian police had arrested four women and one man in the province of Gorgan. These had allegedly been seeking poor pregnant women and paying their hospital expenses, then taking away their babies after birth.