His family-run business was racking up sales of as much as $3,000 a month, unimaginable riches for uneducated Chinese rice farmers from southern Hunan province.
What merchandise was he selling? Babies. And the customers were government-run orphanages that paid up to $600 each for newborn girls for adoption in the United States and other Western countries.
“They couldn’t get enough babies. The demand kept going up and up, and so did the prices,” recalled Duan, who was released from prison last month after serving about four years of a six-year sentence for child trafficking.
Huddled around a gas stove that barely took the chill out of their ground-floor apartment, Duan and his parents offered a rare look at the inner workings of a “mom and pop” baby-trafficking ring run by members of his family and an illiterate garbage collector with a habit of picking up abandoned babies.
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