As Internet technology is developing, second-hand transaction sites are also growing. "Carrot Market," a second-hand transaction site aimed at regional communities and exchange in the region, emphasizes three factors: "trust," "respect" and "ethics." Now, there is a major controversy that a Carrot Market user wrote a post that she was selling her 36-week-old child on the site on Oct. 16, 2020. Let's find out more about this case, find similar ones, and work out a way to solve this problem.
Second-hand Transaction Cases with Ethical Problems
The first case is the sale of a baby. At 6:36 p.m. on October 16, 2020, Two photos were posted along with the message that the writer wanted to sell a baby. The price offered was only 200,000 won. The mother, a woman in her 20s, was found to have given birth to a child and posted the article in a fit of anger while consulting the adoption process at the unmarried mother center. The woman said in a police investigation that she knew she was pregnant before the impending birth date and thought it would be difficult to raise her baby by herself because the baby's father was not around. In addition, the posting said the baby was 36 weeks old, but the investigation found that the newborn was only three days old. Police said the woman will be charged with violating the child welfare law, depending on whether the woman's action included intent. The second case is one of selling disabled people.
On October 30, 2020, a sale post with a title of selling disabled person and photo believed to be a teenage male student was posted on Carrot Market. When Mr. A found it and protested to the seller, the seller swore and insulted him rather than apologizing, and after that, Mr. A reported it to the Carrot Market. According to the investigation, the police confirmed that the seller was a teenager and he posted it as a joke with a friend who was not disabled. In the future, Carrot market added a remark that they are planning to discuss sanctions about unethical postings with Carrot market and the Korea Communications Standards Commission.
Finally, there is a case of pet sales. At 3:33 p.m. on November 4, 2020, a post was updated on the Carrot Market. The post was uploaded by a dog cafe employee under the title "want to exchange a pet", that said he wanted to exchange a 3-month-old standard poodle for a lively small dog. As the post became controversial on social media, the representative of the cafe said that the post was uploaded by an employee who was temporarily entrusted with the management of the cafe. The representative added that he would dismiss and file a complaint against the employee.
In response, the Carrot Market official said, "Living things are not acceptable for trade in any form," and the post was deleted. Carrot market replied that it would try to strengthen monitoring so that this would not happen again.
Why is Life Trading a Problem in Secondhand Transactions?
So, why it would be a problem to trade lives in secondhand transactions? The fundamental cause of the above cases may be that the foundation of ethical awareness is not as solid as the rapid economic development. “Homo Economiscus,” in Wendy Brown's book The Murder of Democracy, is a new human figure that emerged from the advent of neo-liberalism, which is solely based on economic rationality and is thought and acted on. The main characters of the above cases also acted with "Homo Economiscus" mentality. In other words, the trend of disrespecting life has been revealed in posts on secondhand trading sites.
Here is the legal evidence about trading lives. Article 289 of the Criminal Code regulates human trafficking. The act of posting and selling disabled people or children on the site is also a typical example of human trafficking, which is subject to sanctions. Also, pets are legally defined as property, so they must be registered with an agency to operate.
However, temporary trading practices can avoid legal sanctions, so it would be too difficult to sanction short-lived transactions unless they continue to post and sell like business sites. This is why second-hand trading platforms such as Carrot Market cannot quickly deal with or end the trading lives such as pets. In addition, according to the data from Carrot Market, the monthly number of users increased by 161% from 1.27 million in October 2018 to 3.31 million in October 2019, and the number of monthly active users exceeded 10 million in September 2020. In other words, there is a loophole in monitoring whether each user is using the site in compliance with regulations.
The first solution is to create detailed laws and strengthen welfare policies. There is currently no law in Korean that deals directly with the problems of life transactions in secondhand market environments. Making detailed laws on illegal transactions in second-hand sites will help people recognize problems and recognize the seriousness of this situation. Also, there is a way to strengthen welfare policies to prevent illegal transactions from occurring in the first place. According to the Kookmin Ilbo, Jeju Island is expected to finalize supplementary measures to support single parents, which is better than the current policy of supporting single mothers, in connection with the nationwide controversy over the posting, for sale, a child that a single mother gave birth to three days previously on a second-hand goods trading website.
The second solution is to make efforts within the used trading site. According to the ‘Seoul economy, ’ users who post illegal postings on used goods websites are being sanctioned. Under the draft, strong sanctions on the use of postings, such as non-exposure of postings, forced logout, temporary or permanent interruption of services, as well as the bring in of investigative agencies were prepared. In particular, we can punish users by withdrawing them through the use of the same standards of sanctions. Currently, Carrot Market use user reporting system, internal monitoring, and filtering using technologies such as AI machine learning for inappropriate posts. Carrot Market is also planning to make mid- to long-term investments in advanced AI filtering technologies. Creating a healthy trading environment by their own efforts within these second-hand sites could reduce illegal transactions.
Although the Carrot Market has given notice of their plan to increase the intensity of response to the "new baby sales" case by enhancing technologies, it is not being properly dealt with. Similar problems are still happening with "disabled sales posts" and "dog sales posts." The Carrot Market should present a plan about this, and execute it as soon as possible. Also the whole society should work together to solve this problem.
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