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When Did It Become Illegal to Sell Children in Mississippi?

According to federal law, selling or buying children is a federal offense that would result in a life sentence in federal prison. But did you know that the state of Mississippi did not make the act of selling children illegal until 2009?

Lawmakers in Mississippi made child-selling illegal by 2009. This was done after a woman tried to sell her grandson for $2,000 and a car, and the lawmakers found out there was no local law made to punish her.

How Did the Incident Happen?

In 2008, Tracy Martin attempted to sell her two-week-old grandson to Paula Best for $2,000 and a car. She made Martin believe that the child was hers. Her daughter, Brandy Moore, was in the process of getting custody of her baby and could not understand why her mother would do such a thing.

We never took her seriously until she offered to sell us the baby and that’s when I told my husband that something was wrong. I already knew the baby didn’t belong to her.  She was 50-years-old.

Paula Best

Best immediately phoned the police, who later contacted the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. Later that week, the sheriff’s department arrested Martin on different charges rather than that relating to the incident with the baby.

Moore explained that she gave birth to her son on July 27, 2008, in Florida, in Pensacola. She left for a while to live with her paternal grandfather, who also resides in Yalobusha County. She looked for closure to bring her son home but found out her mother had other plans.

I knew she had him. My lawyers trying to find out what I can do. and we have been working on this for about a week now.  I am just trying to go about proving this is my child and getting my son home.

Brandy Moore

Best was happy that Moore was reunited with her baby and that she and her husband were able to help. (Source: Action News 5)

What Happened to Tracy Martin?

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation declared that the investigation was ongoing and active. They also mentioned that both parties were cooperating with law enforcement officials.

The police arrested the woman for a probation violation, but they could not charge her or her daughter with selling a child because apparently, it was still legal to sell children in the state.

Senator Doug Davis added the bill he wrote in response to the case of the Uniform Abduction Prevention Act.

If signed by Governor Barbour, this legislation would give law enforcement the tools they need to better protect some of the most vulnerable in our state. Protecting the children of Mississippi is one of our greatest responsibilities, and it is for that reason I am excited to see this go to the governor.

Senator Doug Davis

According to the revised law, selling a child or the attempt of buying one is punishable by law for up to 10 years imprisonment and or a $20,000 fine. There was no objection to it, and Governor Haley Barbour later signed the bill. (Source: Jackson Free Press)

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