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A ring of people who were allegedly selling babies over Instagram have been uncovered in Indonesia.

The account in question was allegedly disguised as a family welfare agency and included photos of pregnant women, babies with their faces blurred out and ultrasound scans, the BBC reports.

Images of the women on the ‘Family Welfare Institution’ account were either darkened or showed them wearing masks to conceal their identities. The page description translates to: “Helping to cover someone’s disgrace.”

A Surabaya police spokesperson said a telephone number was provided so potential buyers could make contact via WhatsApp.

Authorities said they intercepted one transaction but were still searching for at least one baby featured on the site that is believed to have already been illegally sold.

The Instagram account boasted more than 700 followers and featured details of the babies’ ages, locations and religions. It also included screenshots of alleged conversations between the operator and clients in which they brokered deals relating to the sale of babies.

In one, a woman says she is seven months pregnant and does not want her family to find out.

In another post, a picture of a pregnant woman is shown along with details of her location. The caption of the photo states that she is pregnant and those who want to adopt can contact a telephone number that is listed.

None of the posts explicitly mention the buying or selling of children.

A police spokesperson said they had arrested four people after intercepting a transaction that was due to have taken place on September 3.

A 22-year-old woman, identified only as LA, had attempted to sell her 11-month-old baby, they said.

Police said the buyer was due to pay 15 million rupiah ($A1375) to LA, 5 million rupiah ($A460) to a broker and 2.5 million rupiah ($A230) to Alton Phinandita, the alleged owner of the Instagram page.

All four allegedly involved in the transaction could be jailed for up to 15 years for violating child protection laws.

Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) vice-chairwoman Rita Pranawati, told the BBC that the government agency was aware there had been cases of baby-trafficking before in Indonesia.

“But it’s very rare to happen through Instagram. It’s a new modus,” she said.

While the motives of the buyers were not clear, Ms Pranawati said some people wanting to adopt may do so illegally if they did not fulfil the criteria to do so officially.

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  • This is terrible, I’m glad they have caught some of the people involved in this.

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  • These stories make me feel sick.

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  • How sad for these mothers to be in the position of having to sell their baby so the family doesn’t find out she was pregnant. That is of course if it’s a legitimate case. They’re not putting much value on human life whatsoever

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  • I wonder if in some cases no babies existed and some of the deals were scams

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  • This is just so sad for the children and this needs to be addressed all over the world!

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  • Very sad, but children are bought and sold for human trafficking and sex slaves. So much darkness in this world !!

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  • Disgusting. Give them life.

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  • Very sad but I imagine it happens a lot. Especially in poor countries where the people are vulnerable to exploitation


    • There are evil people that will exploit others for sure and they need to be exposed and charged.

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  • I imagine this happens a lot that we don’t know about.

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  • Very upsetting – I do hope the desperate mums are offered help.

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  • That’s really upsetting to read!!

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