The country's first action plan to better protect women and children from forced labor or prostitution has been finalized and may be released as early as Friday, a senior police officer said Wednesday.
The National Plan of Action to Combat Human Trafficking (2008-12) covers prevention, prosecution of criminals, victim assistance, repatriation, recovery and international cooperation, Du Hangwei, director of the criminal investigation bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, told a conference in Beijing.
He said the plan, involving 28 ministries including public security, foreign affairs, and labor and social security, aims to "provide sustainable and long-term solutions to human trafficking".
"The State Council has, in principle, approved the plan," Du told China Daily without giving further details.
Ministry figures show that about 2,000 to 3,000 cases of women and children being sold are reported to police across the country every year. The International Labor Organization estimates the number of trafficking victims in China ranges from 10,000 to 20,000 a year.
Those trafficked are usually victims of sexual and labor exploitation; and the issue received particular attention after the exposure of a brick kiln slave labor scandal in Shanxi Province this summer.
Official figures in August showed that 1,340 people, about 400 of whom were children or mentally handicapped, had been rescued from forced labor since June, many of them in Shanxi.
Du Wednesday reiterated that there would be zero tolerance for the crime and called for more cooperation among neighboring countries as trafficking is an international issue.
Last year, 209 people who were trafficked to China were repatriated to Vietnam and Myanmar, according to the ministry. Girls and women in Yunnan Province and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region also face the risk of being abducted to neighboring countries such as Thailand for sex exploitation.