24,000 Abducted Women, Children Rescued in ’11 (Updated)

In 2011, police rescued more than 24,000 women and children who had been kidnapped and trafficked in China, CBS News reports:

A report from the ministry said police rescued 8,660 abducted children and 15,458 women in 2011 as nearly 3,200 human trafficking gangs were broken up.

It did not give any figures for the total number of women and children abducted last year. Exact numbers of victims are difficult to obtain as China’s vast size, rural poverty and population of 1.3 billion mean many such cases never get reported beyond local areas.

The rescued children are usually put into orphanages while authorities try to reunite them with their families. In order to identify the rescued children, an “anti-abduction” DNA database has been set up to match missing children with their families.

“Public security organs across China will deepen the campaign against abductions to save more women and children and work hard to reduce the number of abduction and trafficking cases,” the ministry said.

Read more about the plight of kidnapped children in China via Charles Custer of China Geeks, who is producing a documentary film on the subject.

Update: Custer responds to the PSB report and compares their findings with his own:

That said, as someone who has spent the last year talking to the parents of kidnapped children, it is difficult to read the report without getting angry. It states, for example, that the disappearances of children are uniformly treated as criminal cases, and that these cases are to be “swiftly developed and investigated” with the same urgency the PSB might use in pursuing a murder case. But in actuality, everything we’ve heard from parents indicates that this is not how things work in practice. In every case we’ve looked into, police initially tell parents to look for their children themselves, assuming the child has run away or is visiting friends, and telling parents they won’t take the case until the child has been missing 24 hours2. When they do take the case, investigations are slow and remarkably lazy. In the 2011 disappearance of Lei Xiaoxia (one of the subjects of our film), it took police months to request surveillance footage from the school where Lei went missing — by which time it was already deleted — and nearly a year after her disappearance, the police still haven’t interviewed any potential witnesses.

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