EBay halts auction of Vietnamese girls

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Vietnamese American Society : One Thread

> EBay halts auction of Vietnamese girls > > By RACHEL KONRAD > > Associated Press > > SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - EBay Inc. halted an auction > this week and suspended a Taiwanese user who > allegedly tried to sell three Vietnamese girls for a > starting bid of $5,400. > > The auction, which began March 2 on eBay's Taiwan > site, did not include a detailed description of the > goods for sale but said the ``items'' were from > Vietnam and would be ``shipped to Taiwan only.'' > > The site included five photos of three people. One > dark-haired woman in a white shirt wore makeup and > blue nail polish, and the other two appeared to be > girls no older than their early teens. The 10-day > auction had a starting price of 180,000 Taiwanese > dollars, or $5,411.88. > > Vietnamese activists groups in Australia and the > United States noticed the listing as early as March > 5 and began sending e-mails to women's rights and > immigrant advocates around the world. Many of them > contacted eBay, and earlier this week customer > service representatives pulled the auction, now > listed as ``invalid item.'' > > ``There couldn't be a clearer case of what's not > allowed on eBay,'' > > spokesman Hani Durzy said today. ``We are constantly > scanning the site for items along the line of this > one worldwide, and as soon as we see them we take > them down.'' > > San Jose-based eBay strictly forbids the sale or > purchase of humans, alive or dead. > > The company, which acts as an intermediary between > buyers and sellers for products ranging from > garage-sale items to supercomputers, doesn't screen > auction items before they go live on the site. > However, it routinely halts auctions involving human > corpses or anything else it deems inappropriate or > illegal, and it often suspends the person or group > behind such sales. > > EBay turned over information on the seller to > Taiwanese authorities, Durzy said. He would not > release any more information on the user, identified > on the site as ``mmm0052g'' and an eBay member since > March 1. > > Durzy said auctions of humans were ``incredibly > rare,'' and those that the company has investigated > are usually hoaxes. > > ``We have no idea if this one was a joke, but > frankly it's irrelevant to us,'' Durzy said. ``We > took it down as soon as we became aware of it.'' > > American activist groups including the Fairfax, > Va.-based National Congress of Vietnamese Americans, > one of the groups that alerted eBay with e-mails and > a letter to CEO Meg Whitman, applauded the auction > giant's swift moves. > > Members say they'll continue to monitor eBay's > listings for human trafficking. > > But NCVA president Hung Nguyen said the illegal > trade -- often involving girls or young women who > work as sex slaves -- will likely continue > regardless of whether Internet sites clamp down. > > ``The only real alternative is to give countries > opportunities for people to educate and better > themselves,'' Nguyen said. ``If we could improve the > economic conditions in places like Vietnam and > Cambodia, there would be less likelihood that people > would sell themselves or their children into slavery > or brothels.'' >

-- Bo Bac Ho (BoBacHo@badinh.hn.vn), March 19, 2004

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