The thousands of children kidnapped every year and the ensuing media attention has led to China finally starting up a nationwide crackdown on human trafficking, which began on April 9.
The crackdown will last until December and initial reports are that it’s been pretty successful. The state media reported on Sunday that 23 children have been rescued from various provinces.
According to Reuters:
Chinese babies, especially boys, from poor and remote areas may be sold to more prosperous people in far-away provinces. Some older children are also sold to gangs who train them to beg in bigger, richer cities.
A child may be sold for anywhere from 7,000 yuan to 40,000 yuan ($1,000-$5,850), depending on the age and sex, the Xinhua report said.
One prong in the effort: An initiative by the Hubei police to rescue ten stolen wards. The Wuhan Railway Administration of central China targeted 18 suspects in an 8-day campaign, focusing on trains coming from the city of Kunming, Yunnan. The rescue plan involves 30 police officers and will be the biggest operation since the nationwide crackdown was started.
According to China Daily:
The railway probe began on June 11 after police rescued several babies on four separate occasions aboard the K111 train from Kunming in Yunnan province to Wuchang, Hubei, between May 31 and June 9, highlighting a major human trafficking route from Yunnan to Hebei province via Hubei.
Police told Wuhan Evening News four of the alleged smugglers were detained as they disembarked or tried to transfer to another train. Officers had been alerted by the suspects’ odd behavior, as well as the fact they did not appear to have proper food or equipment for a baby.
“Abductors tend to choose the railway as means of cross-provincial transport because trains are crowded with people from various backgrounds, which is the best cover,” said Li Biao, an officer from the public security bureau in Guiyang, Guizhou province.