A student in New Zealand has auctioned her virginity to a stranger for almost $31,900 to help fund her university tuition fees.
The 19-year-old offered her virginity to the highest bidder in an online auction on the www.ineed.co.nz Web site after she found herself desperate for money.
The student, who called herself "Unigirl," said that she was delighted with the outcome and thanked auction participants who had bid more than she expected.
"Thank you to the more than 30,000 people who viewed my ad and to the more than 1,200 offers made," she said on the auction site yesterday. "I have accepted an offer in excess of $NZ45,000, which is way beyond what I dreamt."
The woman said that she had never been in a sexual relationship. She described herself as attractive, fit and healthy but desperate for money to pay university fees. She offered her virginity to the highest bidder “as long as all personal safety aspects are observed” and with full awareness of "possible consequences."
The proprietor of the Web site, Ross MacKenzie, said that the auction had created overwhelming interest from all around the world. He told the Waikato Times newspaper that if an advertisement was legal and not offensive, "it was OK."
He added: "Ineed does not place moral judgments on our members, believing in the fundamental rights of the individual."
MacKenzie denied the transaction was a stunt to promote his Web site. Trade Me, a rival New Zealand-based website, said that it would never allow such an auction. "We don't want Trade Me to be seen as the place where people auction off their virginity," Paul Ford, its spokesman, said.
"As a company we try to do things that are young at heart and do edgy things, but we do not think this one would pass muster," Mr Ford added. "We would not want to be part of it and I think our community would be pretty overwhelmingly against it."
A spokesman for the New Zealand police, Jon Neilson, said that no law appeared to have been breached.
"[But] we would suggest it's not a safe practice," Neilson added. "There are definitely issues of personal safety in using chatrooms, social dating networks and other internet sites that can be used to arrange meetings between strangers."