Baby put up for auction
The 24-year-old woman from Kuilsriver, Western Cape, who advertised that she was giving up her baby for adoption at birth, may have been one of many unenlightened rather than sinister young mothers.
By yesterday, the advert on online classifieds Gumtree had been removed, but the two-months pregnant woman posted on Monday that she wanted to give up her baby due to school and financial difficulties.
But National Adoption Coalition chairman Sue Krawitz said yesterday that it was common for women to resort to the internet out of desperation. They were probably unaware that they were contravening the Children's Act, which prohibits parents from putting their children up for adoption.
Krawitz said: "People often don't know where to go. Often it's done in desperation. I think we can give her the benefit of the doubt as she probably didn't know there were other ways.
"I'm not suggesting there is anything corrupt here, but the other side, unfortunately, is that people see kids as a commodity, and we know that trafficking of kids is another issue."
Gumtree says on its siteadverts will be removed if they are "selling body parts/bodily fluids, adoption or surrogacy anywhere on the site".
There have been illegal ads internationally, including a 22-year-old woman from San Diego in the US, who in 2009, as wired.com reported, tried to sell her virginity for $1-million.
IT expert Arthur Goldstuck said it was impossible for sites including Gumtree and eBay to vet adverts as soon as they were put up.
"In many ways, they are self-policing communities, where users report such adverts when they spot them. The issue is how quickly the site acts to stem that," said Goldstuck.
Western Cape social development MEC Albert Fritz said yesterday that they had struggled to track down the woman after the advert was removed.