Man tries to sell son on Facebook for $20 million

Summary:Saud bin Nasser Al Shahry of Saudi Arabia wants to sell his son on Facebook for $20 million. He says it's the only way to avoid poverty, but some believe it could be a publicity stunt.

Saud bin Nasser Al Shahry is reportedly attempting to sell his own son on Facebook for 73 million UAE Dirhams ($20 million). The Saudi Arabian man said he is willing to go to the courts to complete the "sale procedures." In addition to the $20 million, Al Shahry only wants to know one thing about the buyer of his child: the city in which he or she is located. He told the Quatari news outlet Al Sharq (via RT) that the human trafficking sale was his only option to avoid "living in poverty" with his wife and daughter.

The Saudi Arabian man made the decision after he saw his illegal debt-collection business shut down by a local court. The move doesn't appear to be Al Shahry's first option: after the ruling, he asked authorities to help him. Administration officials denied him financial help because he was older than 35. He claims that this is his only option, though some think it's just a publicity stunt.

In 1962, Saudi Arabia officially abolished slavery. Sadly, the country still doesn't comply with minimum international standards for human trafficking.

While the country's government considers child trafficking an offense, reports have indicated the act occurs fairly often in the country. Children from across the Middle East are frequently smuggled or sold in the country and then forced into begging, unskilled labor, or are recruited as soldiers by rebels. Trafficking of women is also a big issue since the country's large number of female foreign domestic workers and loopholes in the system cause many to fall victim to abuse and torture. Saudi Arabia has not made criminal prosecutions, convictions, or prison sentences for trafficking crimes committed against foreign domestic workers, or at least it hasn't reported making any.

Thankfully, Facebook is unlikely to allow such a sale, or even the advertising of it, on its service. I have contacted the company to confirm and will update you if I hear back. Unfortunately, regardless of what Facebook does, it likely won't stop Al Shahry from trying to find a buyer.

Update: Facebook declined to comment on this article. That being said, Facebook's Terms of Service (Statement of Rights and Responsibilities) does state, in the Protecting Other People's Rights section: "You will not post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates someone else's rights or otherwise violates the law." In other words, if Saudi Arabia deems it illegal, so does Facebook.

See also:

Topics: Social Enterprise

About

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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