A photo of one of the kidnapped girls posted on Weibo in the hopes of finding them.
Seven young girls have been kidnapped* from a primary school in Liangshan, Sichuan Province, and taken to work in a Dongguan toy factory in Guangdong. Authorities in both cities are searching for the girls, according to the Southern Metropolis Daily.
The authorities were forced to act after a Weibo post on December 4th about the kidnapping went viral, being forwarded over 9,000 times.
The Liangshan Public Security Bureau has begun conducting a search, in cooperation with authorities in Dongguan. One of the girls managed to call home, confirming that they were in a toy factory in the city as the original Weibo post suggested.
Liangshan County is a particularly poor area of Sichuan, one of the poorest provinces in China. Average disposable income per capita in rural Sichuan is 5,140 yuan, compared to 13,746 yuan in rural Shanghai (31,838 yuan in urban areas).
In 2008, 76 students went missing from the county, the youngest of whom was seven years old. Kidnapping and the exploitation of runaway children in China remains a major problem, particularly in poorer areas of the country, read our guide on what you can do to help runaway and homeless children.
*Chinese media describes the girls as being ‘lured’ to the factory, which implies a level of agency that children simply do not have. Whether they originally got into the van voluntarily or not, this doesn’t change the fact that the girls were kidnapped.
[Via: The Nanfang]