Here’s a problem we’ll hear increasingly about in the future. Xinhua reports that 206 foreign women “illegally purchased by desperate bachelors” were rescued in Hebei province:
Police in the province also rescued 3,500 women and children abducted from areas around China as part of a campaign against human trafficking, said Yan Zeli, an official from the provincial public security bureau.
Yan said some rural families in Hebei still retain an old custom of purchasing wives for men who cannot find suitable Chinese spouses. These families have been more able to afford to buy mail-order wives in recent years, as their incomes have increased.
Police have busted more than 429 trafficking rings and arrested 556 suspects since the campaign started in 2009, Yan said.
The women come from the poorer countries of Southeast Asia, Mongolia and the DPRK, but police say women from the poorer inland provinces have also been regularly kidnapped for rural families in wealthier coastal areas.