Man tries to sell son on Facebook for $20 million

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:

Topic: Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

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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  • Master Joe Says...And...

    And the world hates the US and thinks this country is so terrible? Chavez today said he would stop the insanity of the US. Apparently, selling your own son on the Internet for $20 million isn't as bad as the things the US government does, like wasting billions of tax dollars. The sad part of it is, as the article points out, this is not as uncommon as you'd like to think.

    --Master Joe
  • RE: Man tries to sell son on Facebook for $20 million

    These countries really do need to work on lessening corruption and raising standards of living. More infrastructure and trade would help, perhaps.

    Legal trade, that is, not human trafficking.
  • What is one supposed to do with the son? Is there a money back guarantee?

    • RE: Man tries to sell son on Facebook for $20 million

      @WinTard Okay that's just not right... LOL
  • RE: Man tries to sell son on Facebook for $20 million

    So he wanted the authorities to help him out financially when his ILLEGAL debt-collection business was shut down? Now since they wouldn't he's selling his son to "avoid 'living in poverty' with his wife and daughter"..... Did anyone suggest that he get a job or start a business that WASN'T illegal? I'd say his current situation is karma just paying him back.
  • RE: Man tries to sell son on Facebook for $20 million

    Nowhere in any of the stories I have found is the age of the son listed. Does anyone know? I would find that germane to the story... and to the sale.