Local police confirmed to The Local on Monday a report by the Westfalen-Blatt that an eight-year-old girl had offered herself for sale online on shpock.com for $45,448, including a photo of herself. A man saw the advert and alerted police.
Police then searched the refugee home in Löhne, North Rhine-Westphalia, where the Lebanese girl has been living with her parents and siblings for the past two years. Officers seized cell phones and child services took the girl into custody, along with her three- and 12-year-old siblings.
When questioned by authorities, the girl said she had posted the photo and offer herself. It is not yet known why she decided to create the advert.
A police spokesperson told The Local that the mobile devices taken by police must still be analyzed to determine how and why the girl created the post. The eight-year-old reportedly had access to many Internet-enabled devices inside the family home
The mayor of Löhne, Bernd Poggemöller, told the Westfalen-Blatt that the children are now back with their family.
He went on to question why there were no safeguards in place, saying: "I would have expected that there would have been controls to stop this from happening."
In October, a father in Duisburg was investigated for advertising his one-month-old baby as for sale for €5,000 on eBay, which he said was a joke. A court then ruled that he would only be allowed contact with his child under supervision.