A Ukrainian teacher has been arrested accused of trying to sell a 13-year-old girl for $10,000. Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov had been reporting the case on social media, with facebook photos of both the 52-year-old teacher and the girl. He said police had been monitoring them for several months before moving in.

According to Mr Avakov, the buyer inquired about the child’s health and paid the teacher 1,000 hryvnia for images of both the girl and her medical records, The Minister also intimated the girl’s organs would be removed after the sale.

The girl was living-in at a boarding school for orphans and children from broken homes in the Kharkiv region. The suspect has been named by Ukranian media as Galina Kovalenko., who has more than 20 years of teaching experience. An expert in Ukrainian and Russian languages, and literature, she is well regarded by colleagues.

Mr Avakov said “Galina 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 ‘red-handed’ – when she took the girl out of the boarding school, brought her to the buyers and received money,”

There have been previous reported cases of various criminal gangs preying on destitute people in eastern Europe in order to sell their organs. The trade in organs is growing and can be very lucrative for those involved.

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

If found guilty, the teacher could be jailed for up to 12 years. Mr Avakov is handling the case himself. There has been no comment from the teacher so far as the case continues.

Grahame Anderson