Human slavery

A Saudi Arabian man’s attempt to auction off his kid may violate the laws of his country and the rules of the social network.

A Saudi Arabian man has been accused of trying to sell his six-year-old son on Facebook. Just for the record, Facebook frowns on that kind of thing.

Rather than rely on reports of reports, the Daily Dot asked a user of Reddit’s r/translator forum to run down the original for us. Here’s the story, according to the Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq: A man named Saud Bin Nasser Al-Shehri posted on Facebook that his son was for sale earlier this year.

Pressed by the the paper, he said any buyer needed US $20 million and would only have to disclose the city where he lives.

Al-Shehri’s story, as told to Al-Sharq, is a familiar tale of financial woe. The government shut the debt-collection agency where he worked for operating without a license. He found himself a bad age to be unemployed: Between 36 and 44 years old, he said, he’s too old for the government unemployment agency to provide assistance and too young to collect a public pension.

He can’t afford rent and has missed three car payments, Al-Shehri said, and needs to provide for his wife and daughter.

Johanna Peace, a representative for Facebook, told the Daily Dot that company policy prevents its employees from commenting on individual accounts. However, she pointed out that the company’s terms of service state “[y]ou will not post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates someone else’s rights or otherwise violates the law.”

If there was a Facebook account under Al-Shehri’s full name in Arabic, سعود بن ناصر الشهري, it’s since been removed or is unavailable to public search.

Technically, the penalty for human trafficking in Saudi Arabia is up to $266,667 (US) and a 15-year prison sentence, and can be increased if the victim is a child. However, the U.S. State Department consistently reports that “the Government of Saudi Arabia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so.”

Photo by Ira Gelb

From Our VICE Partners

Pure, uncut internet. Straight to your inbox.