**FILE** 18 OCT 2015. South-Sudan, Allel village near Bunagok town. Akur Kom, 18, is pregnant of her first kid. In the image she shows some neclaces tha have different meaning, one is for marriage, one to sho that she is pregnant ,etc. Akur goes to the facility for checks but she will decide with the lever based on time if to go to the hospital. At present she has some pain at the abdomen but she is not worried as she trust the lever. Her TBA (Traditional Birth Assistant) is a man. South-Sudan has of the highest child and maternal mortality rate in the world. 1 women out of 30 risks of dieing for reasons related to pregnancy and delivering. 1 child out of 10 dies before reaching the age of 5 for reasons related to disease easily preventable or curable; malnutrition is a key factor. (Getty Images)
**FILE** 18 OCT 2015. South-Sudan, Allel village near Bunagok town. Akur Kom, 18, is pregnant of her first kid. In the image she shows some neclaces tha have different meaning, one is for marriage, one to sho that she is pregnant ,etc. Akur goes to the facility for checks but she will decide with the lever based on time if to go to the hospital. At present she has some pain at the abdomen but she is not worried as she trust the lever. Her TBA (Traditional Birth Assistant) is a man. South-Sudan has of the highest child and maternal mortality rate in the world. 1 women out of 30 risks of dieing for reasons related to pregnancy and delivering. 1 child out of 10 dies before reaching the age of 5 for reasons related to disease easily preventable or curable; malnutrition is a key factor. (Getty Images)

The parents of a South Sudanese 17-year-old girl are under fire for reportedly auctioning her off as a bride via Facebook for a dowry including 500 cows, several cars and $10,000 in cash.

Though child marriage is illegal in South Sudan, the country is one of many where the practice is still common. Nevertheless, a Facebook posting for the auction — reportedly won by a businessman three times the girl’s age — drew worldwide outrage when it surfaced in recent weeks.

George Otim, country director of Plan International South Sudan, was among those who condemned the online auction.

“This barbaric use of technology is reminiscent of latter-day slave markets,” Otim said. “That a girl could be sold for marriage on the world’s biggest social networking site in this day and age is beyond belief.

“While it is common for dowries to be used in marriages in South Sudanese culture, nothing can excuse the way this girl — who is still a child — has been treated as nothing more than an object, sold off to the bidder prepared to offer the most money and goods,” he said.

Facebook removed the posting, but it was reportedly too late, as the girl had already been married by the time the social media network took action.

“Any form of human trafficking — whether posts, pages, ads or groups — is not allowed on Facebook,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “We removed the post and permanently disabled the account belonging to the person who posted this to Facebook.”

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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