By Maurits Elen
Chinese authorities have arrested over 600 individuals related to child trafficking in a joint operation which involved more than 5,000 agents in 10 different provinces. 178 children were rescued in the bust, and are currently residing safely in different orphanages while authorities are trying to reunite them with their families.
Police unwittingly stumbled upon a child trafficking group while investigating a traffic accident on May 5th in the province of Sichuan. The youngsters were allegedly either purchased or abducted by the group and distributed from Sichuan to clients in central China’s Hebei province and elsewhere.
Chen Qingwei, a police officer from Sichuan Province who investigated the case, said selling babies was a way for poor families to overcome the poverty-stricken areas they were living in:
”A boy could fetch a price as high as 50,000 yuan ($7,730), with the price for girls at about 30,000 yuan. This is far more than what the parents could make by farming the land. Husbands went out to work and wives sold their babies to raise money. The police have not been able to track down the couples yet since they left the city immediately after the deals.”
Authorities later found a similar group in the southeastern province of Fujian, which is notorious for the illegal baby trade. After unravelling the illegal operations for 6 months, the police went in for a coordinated bust in multiple provinces on November 30th.
Many sociologists blame the nation’s one child policy for opening the door to a rampant and thriving market in children, mostly involving couples who aren’t able to conceive a baby, and prefer a boy. Girls and women also are abducted and used as laborers or as brides for unwed sons.
According to Xinhua, Chinese authorities have broken up over 7,000 human trafficking groups since a special campaign against human trafficking started in April 2009, freeing 18,518 children and 34,813 women.