A 20-year-old woman has been arrested for trying to sell her baby for R5 000 on Gumtree, the Hawks said on Thursday.

She was arrested in Pietermaritzburg after an undercover agent arranged to buy the 19-month-old baby from her, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said.

The child was handed to a social worker and the R5 000 was recovered. The woman was expected to appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday. She would face charges of human trafficking.

Mulaudzi said an investigation into the role the classified adverts site played in the matter was under way.

Gumtree South Africa Marketing Manager Claire Cobbledick said in a statement that their customer service team was alerted that a young woman had placed an ad on the site advertising a child for sale.

“The team immediately removed the ad and blocked the user’s account, which effectively did not allow her to post any further ads on the site.

“The customer service team further escalated the issue to the corporate office that regularly engages law enforcement on suspected criminal cases, and the incident was reported to Childline in KwaZulu-Natal with all known details about the advert in question.”

She added that the company, “offers full support and co-operation to the Hawks in aid of their investigation into this very serious matter”.

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