Family auctions off 17-year-old daughter for marriage on Facebook

Facebook is facing outrage after a 17-year-old girl from South Sudan was auctioned off for marriage on their platform.

The incident took place in October, when a family posted a Facebook message calling for men to place bids for their daughter.

One businessman from Juba, South Sudan, won the auction with an offer of 530 cows, three Land Cruisers and $10,000.

Although it was widely circulated online, Facebook didn’t take down the post until Nov. 9, three days after the daughter was married off and two weeks after it first appeared, Vice reported.

Information minister Taban Abel told Reuters that the girl has gone into hiding in Juba, but did provide any more details.

This is the first reported situation where a teenage bride was sold on Facebook. Now activists are calling out the online platform for how they’ve handled the incident.

“This barbaric use of technology is reminiscent of latter-day slave markets,” George Otim, country director of charity group Plan International South Sudan, told Reuters. “That a girl could be sold for marriage on the world’s biggest social networking site in this day and age is beyond belief.”

“Any form of human trafficking whether posts, pages, ads or groups that coordinate this activity are not allowed on Facebook,” a Facebook spokesman told Reuters.

Although the legal age of marriage is 18 in the war-torn country, more than 50 percent of underage girls in South Sudan are married.

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