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Three Iranian men arrested for allegedly selling babies on Instagram; one of the babies is reportedly still missing

Authorities in Iran have arrested three men for reportedly attempting to sell babies online using Instagram.

According to CNN, two of the babies — one 20 days old and the other 2 months old — have been rescued, but a third identified baby is still missing.

News reports initially indicated that only two babies were involved in the online infant-selling scheme.

Tehran Police Chief Hossein Rahimi reportedly said that two of the babies had already been bought for the equivalent of $1,100 and $2,300, and were being resold for between $9,490 and $11,800.

The police chief added that the arrested individuals were attempting to turn a profit by buying babies from “poor families” for lower prices and advertising them for more online.

According to Agence France-Press, police first learned about the scheme after being alerted about “ads on Instagram for selling babies.” After investigating, the police discovered 10-15 accounts on the photo-sharing platform.

According to CNN, a spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, said the company was investigating.

“We do not allow content or behavior on Instagram that may lead to human exploitation, which includes the sale of children for illegal adoption. We’re aware of reports of this activity, and we’re continuing to investigate,” the spokesperson said.

The U.S. State Department’s 2020 Trafficking in Persons report ranks Iran as a “Tier Three” country, or one of the world’s worst offenders of human trafficking.

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