Police rescue 178 in 2 child trafficking cases

Updated: 2011-12-07 00:04


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BEIJING - Chinese police in 10 provincial-level regions have jointly cracked two child trafficking gangs that were deemed "seriously harmful," arresting 608 suspects and rescuing 178 children, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

According to a statement released Tuesday by the ministry, police in Southwest China's Sichuan province first discovered that a group led by Cai Lianchao sold 26 children to other regions while dealing with a traffic accident in May.

In another case, police in East China's Fujian province found on Aug 11 that children were sold to the province by Chen Xiumei and other suspects with an "outsize" criminal group whose trafficking businesses expanded to multiple regions.

The two cases drew attention from the leadership of the ministry, with vice-minister Zhang Xinfeng acting as commander-in-chief of a special investigation team, said the statement.

Following conscientious investigative efforts and sophisticated operations, more than 5,000 police officers from 10 provincial regions took joint actions in the early morning of Nov 30 and finally seized Cai and Chen along with their child trafficking associates, said the ministry, adding that trials concerning the two cases are under way.

According to the ministry, all children rescued have been under the care of female police officers, and the Ministry of Civil Affairs has been notified to make temporary arrangements for them in nearby nursing homes before finding their parents.

"Police departments will continue to crack down on child trafficking and ensure that involved children are kept out of the reach of buyers," the statement said.

Human trafficking has been taken as a serious issue in China in the past decades. Young women are kidnapped from poor southwestern regions and sold to rural families in faraway provinces, generally for partnering with desperate marriage-age bachelors, while babies are trafficked generally to sterile couples not qualified to adopt children.

Official figures show that police across the country have broken 7,025 human trafficking groups since a special campaign started in April 2009, with 18,518 children and 34,813 women rescued.