Ukraine teacher ‘tried to sell girl aged 13 for $10,000’

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Po­lice in eastern Ukraine have ar­rested a teacher ac­cused of try­ing to sell a 13-year-old girl for $10,000.

The girl was liv­ing at a board­ing school in the Kharkiv re­gion for or­phans and chil­dren from bro­ken homes.

Ukrainian In­te­rior Min­is­ter Arsen Avakov re­ported the case on Face­book, with pho­tos of the 52-year-old teacher and girl. He said po­lice had been mon­i­tor­ing them for four months.

Mr Avakov said the buyer hinted that the girl’s or­gans would be re­moved.

The buyer in­quired about the girl’s health and paid the teacher 1,000 hryv­nia ($39) for pho­tos of the girl and her med­i­cal records, Mr Avakov said.

Ukrainian me­dia have named the sus­pect as Galina Ko­valenko. She teaches the Ukrainian and Rus­sian lan­guages, and lit­er­a­ture, and has more than 20 years’ teach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, they re­port.

There has been no state­ment yet from the teacher.

Mr Avakov said “Galina [Ko­valenko] worked for nearly a year on her ‘busi­ness plan’ for sell­ing the 13-year-old girl”, whom she had sin­gled out as vul­ner­a­ble.

“They got this seller ‘red­handed’ - when she took the girl out of the board­ing school, brought her to the buy­ers and re­ceived money,” Mr Avakov said.

If found guilty, the teacher could be jailed for up to 12 years. Mr Avakov is per­son­ally han­dling the case.

There have been pre­vi­ous re­ports of crim­i­nal gangs prey­ing on des­ti­tute peo­ple in eastern Europe to har­vest their or­gans. The trade in or­gans can be highly lu­cra­tive.

In 2013, an EU-led court in Kosovo found five peo­ple guilty in con­nec­tion with a hu­man or­gan-traf­fick­ing ring. The five were ac­cused of car­ry­ing out dozens of il­le­gal trans­plants at the Medi­cus Clinic in the cap­i­tal, Pristina.

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