Child Trafficking: A Cruel Trade

Human trafficking is a serious problem in China, and as many as 70,000 children are kidnapped and sold each year. Last month, Xinhua released a report on the bust of a Child trafficking ring, also containing a summary of crack-down efforts since 2009. A recent article from The Economist on the illicit trade says that prices are rising in China – possibly due to a waning supply of kidnapped children, credits social media for raising awareness of the problem, and also introduces activists and officials working to eradicate the trade:

The authorities have launched several crackdowns over the past two decades, but the crime has persisted. Since a renewed effort began in 2009, more than 54,000 children have been rescued and 11,000 trafficking gangs “smashed”, Xinhua, the state news-agency, reported in December. Officials claim the problem has become less rampant.

Given the patchiness of official data, this is hard to prove. Individual cases of abduction are rarely reported by the state-controlled media. But Deng Fei, a Beijing-based journalist and prominent campaigner on behalf of victims and their families, believes the number of children being abducted is falling. Mr Xiao estimates that the price of abducted boys has risen in recent years from around 40,000 yuan to about 90,000, perhaps because the supply of abducted children has been affected by the police crackdown.

Social media may also have played a role. In recent years, parents and activists have been using websites and microblogs to share information about cases and draw public attention to child abduction. Their efforts have put pressure on the police, who have responded (unusually, given their suspicion of internet activism) by using the internet themselves to contact the families of victims.[…]

Earlier this month, The Telegraph’s Malcolm Moore reported on family planning officials suspected of trafficking children:

Wang Yiping is the head of the village family planning committee in Anxi county, Fujian, and a mother of four, according to the China Youth Daily newspaper.

The police said she is suspected of assisting in the illegal sale of four babies, including the recent sale of a baby boy from Yunnan province for 52,000 yuan (£5,200).

[…]In December, 12 family planning officials in Hunan were suspected of selling orphans abroad, and were found to have “seriously violated regulations”, but were later cleared of any wrongdoing.

For more on child trafficking in China, see prior CDT coverage. Also visit the website for “Living With Dead Hearts“, a forthcoming film by Charlie Custer and Leia Li,  for much more information on the topic, including links to charity organizations dealing with this cause.

January 24, 2013 5:27 PM
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