A COUPLE who repeatedly sexually abused their young son and sold him to paedophiles online for more than two years have been jailed in Germany.
In a case that has shocked the country, the little boy's mother, 48, and stepfather, 39, were sentenced to 12-and-a-half years and 12 years in prison followed by preventive detention respectively.
The twisted pair had confessed to prostituting the boy, now aged 10, to local and foreign men for large amounts of money, as well as abusing the youngster themselves.
The stepfather, who the boy referred to as "Papa", was found to have a previous conviction for child abuse - raising questions over how he was allowed to live in a home with a child present.
Paedophiles traded videos of the abuse over the internet, with some of the videos showing the boy masked and bound, said prosecutors.
The paedophile ring - including three German men, a Swiss national and a Spanish man - operated out of the town of Staufen, near the city of Freiburg in south-western Germany.
All five of the sick paedophiles have been jailed elsewhere for eight to 10 years, Deutsche Welle reported.
The court heard how the couple offered their child for sex on the dark web for two years between May 2015 and August 2017, before they were finally caught in September last year - thanks to an anonymous tip-off.
Paedophiles responded to their offers and paid thousands of euros to abuse the boy, Judge Stefan Buergelin said before reading his verdict.
Series of failings
The boy was taken into custody by social services in March 2017 after workers learned his stepfather was a convicted child abuser living in the same house.
But shockingly, the youngster's mother later won a court battle to have him returned home and he continued to be offered out for sex online.
A series of failings saw family court officials fail to interview the boy, authorities fail to recognise the stepfather was still living at the house, and authorities ignore reports by a youth welfare officer at the boy's school that he may have been abused for being "too vague".
The couple - who have now been named as mother Berrin Taha, 48, and her 39-year-old boyfriend Christian Lais - were convicted of rape, aggravated sexual assault of children, forced prostitution and distribution of child abuse images.
They were also ordered to pay a total of €42,500 in damages to the boy and another victim, a three-year-old girl who was a family friend.
In his verdict, Judge Buergelin said Taha went along with the abuse at first so she would not lose her partner and later "for financial motives".
The boy involved is now safe in foster care. His lawyer told reporters today that he was doing well "under the circumstances".