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An Englishman Has Been Trying to Sell a Baby to Strangers in the Street

Makes you think, doesn't it? Like: How much does a three-month-old baby cost to buy?

This man tried to sell a baby in a betting shop. Photo via Greater Manchester Police

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

Police in Manchester made an arrest yesterday after reports that a man was trying to sell a baby on the street, just randomly offering a baby for sale to passersby, just asking people, "Oi mate," just saying, "D'you wanna buy a baby?" The incident happened at around 2:30 PM on Sunday afternoon, if you're especially into the specifics of how and when a man got arrested for attempted baby-selling. I am not. The baby is fine. The baby is a three-month-old baby girl. The man is a 28-year-old in-custody man. Let's move on to the logistics of baby selling.


Because, right: How do you sell a baby in the street? This is Britain, where people recoil in terror from anything less meek and static than a friendly Big Issue seller. A top five recurring nightmare is people having to navigate a slalom of high-visibility charity workers with clipboards, saying "GIVE ME A SMILE, SIR," saying, "How much was that coffee? Because for just £2 a wee—" jumping towards you and looming, shouting at your back: "DO YOU NOT CARE ABOUT DYING CHILDREN?" And then you wake, in a cold sweat, the distant ringing of charity workers' rainy day enthusiasm jingling in your ears, foxes fucking in the garden, and birds tweeting distantly in the trees. It is 5 AM and you cannot get back to sleep. Now imagine someone trying to sell you a street baby.

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What is the patter of the average street baby seller? When trying to sell a baby on the street, do you lead with that? Do you hold the baby forwards and up, Rafiki-off-of- Lion-King style, and say, "Mate, do you want to buy a baby?" Or do you beckon potential punters in, perhaps stop them in the street and ask them the time, slowly building up rapport, saying stuff like, "Rainy, isn't it? In Manchester. Very rainy city," saying things like, "What about that Sterling deal, eh? Overpriced, isn't it. Listen, do you want to buy a baby?" Opening your jacket, revealing the baby within. The baby is swaddled and peaceful. It seems like a well-behaved baby. "Do… do you want to buy a baby?" It would cut out a lot of the aggy portion of having a baby. It seems like a generally paperwork-free process, buying a baby off a man in the street. M–maybe? Maybe you want to buy a baby?


A man once offered to sell me a DVD in a bar and I said no because I did not want to be arrested and hit with truncheons by the police. I would not buy a street baby.

I, like most people, am only allowed to withdraw £250 [$390] a day from cash machines without prior approval from my bank, which makes me think that is roughly what a newborn baby, sold in the street for convenience, might feasibly cost, cash-in-hand.

Backstory-wise, you have to wonder if there was anything—specifically—that the baby did, that caused the man to want to sell her to the first amenable stranger he saw. We may never know. Having a baby is stressful. Having a baby causes you to lose sleep. Sometimes, maybe, you get so mad at a baby that you try and sell it.

What we do know is: it is really difficult and you will almost certainly get arrested if you try it. Multiple members of the public flagged Streetbabyman up to the Greater Manchester Police, and they moved swiftly to make sure he didn't, like, straight up sell a baby. "We would like to thank members of the public and the media for their assistance in publicizing the appeal earlier today," DI Liam Boden said. "We have now arrested a man on suspicion of child neglect and will be questioning him in relation to the incident as we try to establish the full circumstances."

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I don't know: There's just something very fairytale-esque about this, isn't there? If it weren't so illegal it might be kind of sweet. "Where did you get me from, Wicked Stepmother?" baby Cinderella, now all grown up, asks. "I bought you from a man in a really rare and unfindable Air Max 90 colorway, off the street, in the Deansgate Shopping Centre area of Manchester." "Will I grow up and marry a prince?" "All signs point to 'no.'"

Anyway, good luck to you, Street Baby. You are going to need it.

Follow Joel Golby on Twitter.