|Dec 7, 9:57 AM EST|
China rescues 178 children in trafficking bust
By ALEXA OLESEN
BEIJING (AP) -- Chinese police arrested 608 suspects and
rescued 178 children in busts of two separate child trafficking
networks, authorities said Wednesday.
Ministry of Public Security said prosecutors were preparing cases
against the suspects, suggesting charges have yet to be filed.
statement posted online said 5,000 police across 10 provinces
cooperated for six months on the investigation and moved in to arrest
the suspects last week.
Child trafficking is
big problem in China, where traditional preference for male heirs and a
strict one-child policy has driven a thriving market in baby boys, who
fetch a considerably higher price than girls. Girls and women also are
abducted and used as laborers or as brides for unwed sons.
Tens of thousands of children go missing every year, though the exact numbers of victims are difficult to obtain.
rescued children will be put into orphanages while authorities try to
reunite them with their families, the ministry said. It didn't give the
age range of the abducted children or other specifics.
broadcaster CCTV aired footage showing female police officers cradling
babies in their arms. The footage also showed more than a dozen suspects
handcuffed and escorted by officers, or lined up outside a building in
Families who bought trafficked children would be forbidden from keeping them, a ministry official told CCTV.
who have paid for these children must be punished by losing both the
child and the money, so that the market shrinks gradually and
eventually, the number of child trafficking cases will be substantially
reduced," Chen Shiqu, director of the ministry's human trafficking
department, was quoted as saying.
investigation into a traffic accident in south China's Sichuan province
in May led police to the first ring, which was allegedly selling
children abducted or bought in Sichuan to buyers in central China's
Hebei province and elsewhere. The ring had links to at least 26 gangs
nationwide, the ministry said.
The second ring
was uncovered in August and was based in southeast China's Fujian
province and led by a female suspect identified as Chen Xiumei.
statement said police have cracked more than 7,000 gangs or rings that
sold women or children since a special campaign against human
trafficking started in April 2009. It said 18,518 children and 34,813
women have been rescued.
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