News/China:Crackdown on trafficking in humans saves thousands

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Subject: News/China:Crackdown on trafficking in humans saves thousands
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed May 17 2000 - 12:14:37 EDT


            Crackdown on trafficking in humans saves thousands

OTC 5-10-00 11:02 AM

BEIJING, May 10 (UPI) -- After a month-long crackdown on the trafficking of
women and children in China authorities said more than 10,000 victims have
been rescued, the official China Daily newspaper reported Wednesday.
    Thousands of women and children, most between the ages of 13 and 24
years, are abducted each year and forced into slavery, marriage or sex work
at the hands of people traffickers. Often they are duped into following
along with the promise of a job, according to aid officials in Beijing.
    The countrywide drive to wipe out abductions launched April 1 by the
Ministry of Public Security and the All-China Women's Federation uncovered
10,000 traffickers, said the newspaper.
    "Trafficking is a component of migration," said one aid official who
declined to be identified. "What we have to do is empower women and
children with knowledge. Prevention is the key here. We can't stop
trafficking without it."
    Many of the abductions occur in the southern areas of rural China and
women are either sold as sex slaves or as wives in central areas where men
outnumber women. Boys are abducted and sold to couples who cannot have
their own children or to those who have a girl child in this "one child
policy" country.
    "We just don't know how many people are abducted each year,' said the
aid official. "It is too difficult to put a number on."
    Last month four farmers were executed after convictions of abducting
women and children. State media said 18 others were sentenced to lengthy
jail terms.
    Since the crackdown began state-run newspapers have published victims'
abduction accounts. One such case was 14-year-old Kang Minge whose
photograph appeared in the Beijing Youth Daily with a small article
describing her ordeal.
    "I had my first period when I was 11, I was a bride at 12 and had my son
when I was 13," she told the newspaper.
    Kang was an orphan from the Shaanxi province and was abducted and sold
to an old man in the northern city of Hebei. Her brother reported her
disappearance to the police. Once she was located the police went on a
rescue mission and took the newspaper reporter with them. They waited until
the village was asleep, avoiding interference from local residents, before
they dragged Kang out of bed and took her home.
    Stories like Kang's are not unusual. In April the China Police Daily
reported an abduction ring had been broken which forced more than 100 women
and girls into prostitution.
    Also in April the official Xinhua news agency reported police in the
southeastern province of Fujian had uncovered a human trafficking ring,
which had forced more than eighty women and children into prostitution.
    "We have to find out what happens in order to prevent it," said the aid
official. "We have to provide knowledge and life skills for girls in rural
communities."

  2000 UPI


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