A charity worker has been detained in Ukraine after he was caught trying to buy an 11-month-old baby from his mother and sell the child abroad.
The Daily Mail reported that the 43-year-old man from the Transcarpathian Oblast was detained after he allegedly gave a $1,000 downpayment to the boy’s mother, claiming that he would ensure a family in Europe would adopt him to live away from the war in the Eastern European country.
The woman, from Zhytomyr, was offered a total of $5,000 for the baby, and the man allegedly intended to sell him to traffickers for $25,000.
The man was seen detained with a female accomplice at the Ukraine-Slovakia border. The man was arrested for attempted human trafficking and faces up to 15 years in prison.
The boy was rescued, but the man is suspected to have sold three other children under the same pretext.
Ukrainian journalist Vitaliy Glagola said the man "had been looking for parents who were ready to sell their child for organs," according to the Daily Mail.
"Law enforcement officers have operational information that this was not for adoption to the EU, and the child was to have been sold to [illegal] oregan transplanters," he added.
Karolina Wierzbinska, a coordinator at the human rights organization Homo Faber in Poland, said she has seen teams or couples working together to lure Ukrainian refugees traveling to the Polish border into their cars.
"[We see teams] waiting for people arriving from Ukraine and pretending to offer rides or lodging to women distressed and exhausted from their journey," she said.
"We’re also seeing multiple couples, typically a male and female, having traveled to the border by car, attempting to lure women using similar tactics. We intervene in such cases by approaching the person acting suspiciously and asking them to register in our volunteer directory — in response to which they typically run away."