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Facebook used for bidding in child bride auction

The auction sought dowry for a 16-year-old girl in South Sudan.

Facebook was used to auction off a girl in South Sudan.
Joel Saget / AFP / Getty Images

A rights group has slammed Facebook for allowing a child bride auction in South Sudan to take place on its platform.

The father of a 16-year-old girl reportedly received 500 cows, three cars and $10,000 in exchange for his daughter's hand in marriage, according to children's rights group Plan International.

"This barbaric use of technology is reminiscent of latter-day slave markets," George Otim, Plan International's director for South Sudan said in a post last week on its website. "That a girl could be sold for marriage on the world's biggest social networking site in this day and age is beyond belief."

Five men -- some of whom are reportedly high-ranking government officials -- made bids on the girl starting Oct. 25, CNN reported Tuesday. She was married on Nov. 3.

Under South Sudanese law, the teen is considered a child. However, UNICEF noted last year that 52 percent of girls in the east African nation are married before turning 18.

The post was taken down as soon as Facebook became aware of it on Nov. 9 because it violated the social network's policies against trafficking.

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

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