The one-child policy in China has resulted in more than just forced abortions and sterilizations — it has led to massive cases of child trafficking as families attempt to buy children.
Now, according to a London Daily Mail report, police in China have busted a child trafficking ring preying on children as young as 10-days-old that involved 89 children and the arrests of 369 people who were engaging in the sale of children on the black market. Chinese officials have begun subjecting traffickers to facing the possibility of the death penalty, but that hasn’t stopped them from selling children — who wind up in slave labor or sex work.
The Daily Mail indicates the police busts involved arrests in 14 provinces in China and one of the rings involved selling children in Vietnam through neighboring Guangxi province.
Liu Ancheng, deputy director of the Ministry of Public Security Criminal Investigation Bureau, said the focus is on prosecuting the traffickers not the buyers and he said part of the problem of sex trafficking is based on traditional Chinese social norms that place a preference on boys. That has resulted in massive sex-selection abortions as Chinese families use ultrasounds to determine whether a girl unborn child has been conceived.
The one-child policy exacerbates the cultural preference as girls are subjected to abortions because of the limit placed on the number of children families can have.
The newspaper indicated the raids took place on July 20 and involved 2,600 police officers. The children ranged between the ages of 10 days old and 4 years of age. China Daily reported that the infants are now in the care of institutions.
Tessa Dale of All Girls Allowed, which works to combat sex-selection abortions, commented on the arrests and said more must be done to promote the life, value and dignity to girls and mothers in China. She said her group “applauds this successful operation completed by Chinese officials. The special task force set in place in February is already seeing success as a result of all their hard work.”
“Women are sold to men in remote areas who are unable to find brides due to the sex imbalance resulting from China’s one-child policy which has encouraged sex-selective abortions,” she noted.
Brian Lee, Executive Director at All Girls Allowed also weighed in, saying, “Whenever children are rescued from slavery and abuse, we rejoice. But our response always involves more than gladness—we must remember that the cause of this trafficking problem is still in place, and the problem worsens daily. There are 550 children waiting to be trafficked tomorrow, 550 the next day, and 550 the next…Until the One-Child Policy ends, children will continue to be purchased on the black market.”
Lee continues, “The policy was supposed to be in place for 30 years, and this September marks the 31st anniversary. As we witness this increase in prenatal sex selection, toddler brides trafficked, girls abandoned and female infants eliminated, we pray for a swift end to this policy, as China originally purposed.”
All Girls Allowed continues to support a network of anti-trafficking volunteers in China, with the goal of not only rescuing children, but reuniting them with their families. In addition, the organization offers scholarships to girls abandoned as a result of the One-Child Policy, and gives support to mothers who keep their girls in areas most impacted by gendercide.