South African woman sells son to undercover officer for $335

Story highlights

  • The magistrate said the woman did not appear to be a trafficker
  • She said she could no longer support her son after her boyfriend left

Johannesburg (CNN)A South African woman who attempted to sell her 19-month-old son on a popular website has been given a suspended five-year sentence and been placed under house arrest, instead, the national prosecuting authority said Thursday.

"What she did was wrong and we are pleased that she put in a plea," said Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, a spokeswoman for the prosecuting authority. "We accept the sentence of the magistrate."
    The magistrate said the woman did not appear to be a trafficker. Human trafficking can draw a very stiff sentence in South Africa, including life in prison and a 100 Million rand ($6 million) fine.

    Boyfriend withdrew support following paternity test

    The child is now under government care and a decision on his fate will be made later.
    The 20-year-old woman was sentenced in a Pietermaritzburg court. She will not spend time in jail, but will be put under correctional supervision -- a form of house arrest. She pleaded guilty in the case late last year.
    After the woman's boyfriend found out through a paternity test that the child was not his, he withdrew child support.
    The woman said she was unable to support the child, so she decided to put it up for sale last year on Gumtree, a popular internet marketplace in South Africa. A police officer contacted the woman under the guise of being a potential buyer and they met at a fast-food restaurant in Pietermaritzburg.
    The policeman offered her R5000 for the child (around $335). After the woman accepted the money and handed over the baby, she was arrested.