March 19, 1999

Colombian sells daughter for less than $200

                  BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) -- A judge in the Colombian town of
                  Planeta Rica, or Rich Planet, angered local residents by freeing two men
                  who were jailed after one sold his teen-age daughter to the other for about
                  $200, a newspaper reported Friday.

                  A report in Bogota's El Espectador newspaper said the father of the girl,
                  Marcelino Perez, was arrested earlier this month along with the 61-year-old
                  man who purchased the girl.

                  The two were freed after a judge in Planeta Rica, in a rural area of northern
                  Cordoba province, ruled their detentions illegal.

                  The ruling, which outraged police and local townspeople, was based on the
                  fact that no formal complaint had been filed against the men, El Espectador

                  It quoted Perez's 13-year-old daughter, Luz Neida, as saying she knew she
                  had been sold into virtual slavery but that her father deemed the unusual
                  "business deal" as necessary to buy medicine for her ailing mother.

                  Luz Neida has been turned over to a family welfare institute, the newspaper

                  It said her sale had fetched Perez just 300,000 pesos ($193), slightly more
                  than the going rate for a mule.