China / Society

Vietnamese trialed for cross-border trafficking

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-08-28 16:31

NANNING - Twenty-four suspects, including ten Vietnamese women, stood trial Monday in a south China court for trafficking children across the China-Vietnam border, local officials announced Tuesday.

The suspects were members of a human trafficking ring that bought more than 20 infants in Vietnam, smuggled them across the border and sold them to Chinese families from June 2 to July 15 last year, the officials said.

The Intermediate Court of Fangchengang has not yet announced its verdict for Monday's trial.

Fangchenggang is a city that shares the border with the Vietnamese city of Mong Cai, where the babies were smuggled. Chinese police busted the ring and arrested its members in July 2011.

According to Chinese Criminal Law, trafficking three or more children can lead to a prison term ranging from ten years to life. If the offense is severe, the guilty party can even receive the death penalty.

One of the case's prosecutors said that child trafficking is a serious crime, adding that any offender -- Chinese or foreign -- will be punished according to Chinese law.

Human trafficking is a serious problem in China. Numerous cases of young women being kidnapped from poor southwestern regions and sold to rural families in faraway provinces have been uncovered over the past decade. Infants, usually baby boys, are largely sold to sterile couples who are not qualified to adopt children.

In recent years, China has taken a tough stance on trafficking and launched multiple crackdown campaigns. Official figures show that last year, police across the country rescued 8,660 abducted children and 15,458 women after breaking up 3,195 human trafficking gangs.

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