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China to step up fight against trafficking in women, children
By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-09-30 09:07

The Ministry of Public Security will head a joint meeting next month on further measures to combat the trafficking of women and children, a senior official said on Sunday.

"Twenty-six ministries will discuss details of the plan and how to carry it out in a coordinated way," Yuan Xiaoyin, ministry offical, said at a news conference in Kunming, Yunnan province.

The meeting follows the adoption of the National Plan of Action to Combat Human Trafficking (2008-12), which took effect in January. It covers prevention, prosecution, assistance for victims, repatriation and recovery.

The new plan will broaden the scope to include multi-dimensional solutions from provincial governments, civil societies and communities, Yuan said.

"Only by establishing a national-level mechanism to coordinate the work among different ministries can we ensure long-term and consistent implementation of the plan," Yuan said.

Trafficking frequently occurs in the provinces, and the governments have quickened efforts to map out plans in line with the national strategy.

Yunnan province published a provincial plan two years ago and Hunan will follow shortly.

International organizations in partnership with the All-China Women's Federation have expressed interest in helping in the fight against trafficking.

The International Labour Organization's Project to Prevent Trafficking in Girls and Young Women for Labor Exploitation in China (CP-TING) (2004-08) is expected to extend its programs currently being held in six provinces to others, Kathleen Speake, chief technical advisor of CP-TING, said.

CP-TING projects involve the training in life skills, devising trafficking prevention strategies, and working with employers.

"Many models and practices have been adopted at the national and provincial level, Long Jiangwen, a counsel at the international department of the All-China Women's Federation, said.

"International cooperation has partly contributed to the national plan," he said.

More effort on the part of decision-makers at all levels, and civil societies are being sought in the fight against human trafficking in the country where migration is huge and children and women are most at risk, Yuan said.

He said more children are being trafficked by criminal gangs, especially children of migrant families.

MPS statistics show that about 2,000 to 3,000 cases of women and children being sold are reported to police across the country every year.

In the past, women were abducted for marriage and babies for adoption. Today, it is for prostitution, forced labor and begging.

Speake said China will soon ratify the Palermo Protocol and the ILO Conventions on Forced Labor, leading to changes in the country's legal definition of trafficking, which will bring it more in line with the international definition.