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Afghan Mother Sells Baby to Raise Money for Relative's Medical Care

A mother of two in Afghanistan sold her five-month-old daughter to raise money for medical treatment for a relative. The case sparked deep concern in the country, and officials and others have raised money for both medical costs and to get the child back to her mom.

The mom, Obaidah, lives in Mimanah, in Afghanistan's Faryab province, and has been married for five years. Her husband's 20-year-old brother Jalaluddin is suffering from blood cancer, which is expensive to treat. To help pay for the treatment, baby "Mehraban" was sold to a childless couple.

"I sold my daughter to treat my husband’s young brother. I cried two nights and I did not sleep. I had to do that to save a person’s life from death," said Obaidah in a phone interview with VOA.

The story, first reported by the Pajhwok news agency, circulated widely on social media, attracting the attention of a local governor.

A Pajhwok reporter says the governor of Faryab paid $420 to get the baby back and returned to her mother.

Najibullah, a man who runs a restaurant in city of Maimana, bought the baby girl because he and his wife have not been able to have children.

Five other people donated money for Jalaluddin's treatment.

Mehraban's sale is the latest of several cases in which poverty, debt, or social difficulties prompted parents to sell babies.

Afghan lawyer Diba Abhar says selling or buying children is usually illegal. He tells VOA's Ashna Radio that such transactions can only take place under exceptional circumstances and need court supervision.

Jawid Bidar, spokesperson for Faryab province, called this case a "gloomy incident." He said authorities should prevent such actions, and journalists and others could help by reporting them.

-- reported by the Voice of America