Chinese police smash child trafficking ring and free 180 desperate children
- Nationwide operations saw over 800 arrests and 181 children freed in 15 Chinese provinces
- Child trafficking has become a major problem in China with recent freedom of movements helping illegal trade in children
- ECPAT UK director say the organisation have noticed an increase in children being trafficked into the UK from China in the past decade
Chinese police freed over 180 children when busting two major child trafficking gangs, officials report.
Police arrested 802 suspects in a nationwide move against child-trafficking which involved over 10,000 officers.
Critics blame lax adoption laws and the one-child policy saying it has led to an expanding black market of child-trafficking.
Human trade involving children has become a big problem in China where they are often sold for adoption or as cheap labour and household servants.
In the latest operation, 181 children were rescued from traffickers in 15 provincial regions including Hebei, Shandong, Henan, Sichuan, Yunnan.
Investigations that led to the current round of arrests began in December 2011 when four suspects were caught in Henan province while attempting to sell four babies, the BBC reports.
A ‘Level A’ suspect, Shao Zhongyuan, was caught in Pingyi county, Shandong province, the Ministry of Public Security said yesterday.
According to the ministry he was part of a gang which trafficked more than 100 children.
The recent economic reforms resulting in greater freedom of movement is believed to have made in easier for trafficking gangs to operate in the country.
Christine Beddoe, director of ECPAT UK, the UK’s leading organisation working against the exploitation of children for pornography, prostitution and trafficking, said that numbers are elusive as they are not formally collected, but that they have noticed a change over the past decade.
‘In our experience the number of children being trafficked in to the UK from China has increased over the past ten years.
‘Due to the nature of trafficking the numbers that we do see are only the tip of the iceberg.’
The US Department of State’s 2012 Trafficking In Persons report also blamed the one-child policy in China: ‘Well-organized international criminal syndicates and local gangs play key roles in both internal and cross-border trafficking.
‘China’s birth limitation policy, coupled with a cultural preference for sons, creates a skewed sex ratio in China, which served as a key cause of trafficking of foreign women as brides for Chinese men and for forced prostitution.’
An officer from the MPS speaking to China Daily said that police have stopped child trafficking from increasing, but the illegal practice was still prominent in some areas.