In Northern Ireland, a sixteen year old girl attempted to sell her virginity to the highest bidder using the U.K.-based online classifieds website Gumtree.
Her ad was listed under the heading "Virginity for sale," notes the Telegraph. The unnamed teen reportedly said she was offering her body "to the highest bidder" in order to pay for her education.
The startling story was pursued by a reporter at The Sunday Life, who investigated the claims and found the girl was serious about the transaction. In order to stop her, the paper dispatched a journalist who posed as an interested bidder and placed a bid.
According to the Belfast Telegraph, after being contacted by the reporter, the girl responded quickly via text with descriptions, including her bra size, and asked for details about the transaction. Her text messages to the reporter, who posed as a wealthy businessman, included:
I'm 17 at the end of the month, but I look way older. I'm tallish, size 14-ish, size 36D breasts, long browny-blonde hair. I actually have three piercings.
I can basically do this any Saturday. Do you want me all night? What exactly is it you wish to do?
Among a slew of texts, many sexual in nature, she also mentioned she was "probably gonna drink a lot before or I'll be shy."
Eventually, the reporter was the only bidder left at a price of £6,000 (or about $9,677). The reporter asked the girl multiple times whether or not she was sure about going through with the transaction, and the girl assured him she was, saying, "There's no way I'm gonna change my mind. It's only you now," referring to the fact that all of her alleged "other bidders" had dropped out of the running.
The girl met with the reporter in a bar to discuss the details face to face. During the conversation, the girl told the reporter what she would be using the money for, saying, "This money will mean I can buy loads of supplies for my art course" and she would also "put the rest away for university as I want to do art at uni."
After the meeting, the girl walked home, and a Sunday Life photographer followed her to her home, proving just how unsafe such online transactions and meetings can be for young girls.
However, before the transaction was to occur, the reporter called the girl and revealed his true identity as a reporter, and the girl sent "panicky texts claiming it was 'a joke'."
Online auctions such as this one have taken place before. About one year ago, 22-year-old Natalie Dylan decided to auction off her virginity, receiving offers of up to $3.7 million. The Telegraph names at least three additional situations in which women turned to online prostitution, including a Peruvian model who "put herself up for sale to help pay her family's medical bills but ended up having second thoughts and turning down $1.5 million."