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Two Germans who offered to sell their daughter on eBay may face prosecution for attempted human trafficking, despite claiming that the auction they launched was merely a "joke".

The pair - a 35-year-old woman and her 41-year-old boyfriend - are currently under investigation by local police after a fellow Internet user in their home town of Rennerod, Bavaria saw the auction last weekend and reported it to the authorities. The eight-year-old was reportedly touted with the offer: "You can play with her, eat her at a barbecue or sell her to gypsies. She is a real working toy." Bidding started at €1 ($1.19).

By the time eBay pulled the auction, bidding had risen to €25.50 ($30.25).

The couple claimed the auction was just a joke, when questioned by police following a raid on their homes, the Associated Press reports.

eBay's Ts&Cs forbid members from offering people and body parts. The online auctioneer's German operation said it was co-operating with police and slammed the couple's actions as "tasteless". ®

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