A Saudi Arabian man made news yesterday for attempting to sell his son on Facebook in order to save his wife and daughter from poverty.
The man, Saud bin Nasser Al Shahry, said that he had been forced into finding a solution after his illegal debt collecting business was shut down and he was denied help by authorities.
The move has sparked controversy over human trafficking issues. Although human trafficking is illegal in Saudi Arabia, the United States Department of State has categorized it as a Tier 3 country. Tier 3 countries are "countries whose governments do not fully comply with the maximum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so."
However, human traffic in Saudi Arabia typically refers to immigrants coming into the country and not to the citizens themselves. The country was categorized in the third tier primarily for its failure to persecute those who are guilty of accepting involuntary servitude.
Al Shahry reported on Facebook that he would be willing to go to court in order to complete that transaction, and in addition to the $20 million dollars, only asked in what city the buyer lived.
Facebook laws also forbid illegal transactions. According to Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, “You will not post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates someone else’s rights or otherwise violates the law.”
Considering that human trafficking violates both of those clauses, it is unlikely that the sale could be carried out on Facebook, regardless of the restrictions imposed by the Saudi government.
Most Saudi Arabians benefit from government programs, which are geared to reduce poverty. According to Encyclopedia for the Nations, “Saudi citizens are given free education and health care, and all adult Saudis are entitled to a plot of land and a loan of U.S. $80,000 with which to build a house.