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Human trafficking crackdown rescues hundreds of children

By Zhang Yan | China Daily | Updated: 2014-03-01 08:21

 Human trafficking crackdown rescues hundreds of children

A police officer in Chongqing takes a blood sample from a stolen baby for DNA matching on Feb 19. Chongqing Municipal Public Security Bureau / for China Daily

Police in China will fight child trafficking using the Internet, the Ministry of Public Security said Friday as it announced a crackdown on four smuggling rings and the rescue of nearly 400 children.

Human trafficking through traditional methods, such as acquaintances' introductions, has been effectively curbed, said Liu Ancheng, director of the ministry's criminal investigation department.

"But due to a strong desire from buyers, traffickers have moved to more subtle means, including using the Internet to commit their crimes," he said,

The Web facilitates those traffickers who set up network platforms to contact buyers, generally under the guise of adopting a child, said Chen Shiqu, director of anti-human-trafficking office under the ministry's criminal investigation arm.

"Children are not commodities, and no matter what criminal means suspects use, we will adopt a 'zero tolerance' attitude toward human trafficking," Chen said.

The recent massive crackdown started on Feb 19. Police from 27 provinces and regions rescued 382 abducted infants and captured 1,094 suspects, according to the ministry.

Meanwhile, police busted four criminal gangs that trafficked infants through the Internet, and nabbed five alleged leaders, including men identified as Zhou Daifu, Lan Tiaoqing and Wang Hongjing.

The police operation goes back to last year, when Beijing and Jiangsu police discovered a website, the Yuanmeng Children Adoption Home, that engaged in child-trafficking in the name of adoption.

Police from the two regions targeted four such websites and 30 chat rooms on QQ, an instant messenger platform. They discovered that four organized crime rings gave their members clear roles, such as traders, website managers and brokers. As a result, police detained 1,094 suspects.

Police said Zhou operated the Yuanmeng Children Adoption Home and established a QQ chatroom to contact buyers mainly through that forum, Baidu bulletins and QQ.

"We used QQ to discuss prices with buyers, and when the price was agreed on, we would allow the buyers to directly connect with sellers," police said he told them. He allegedly charged buyers 4 to 6 percent of the transaction value.

Moreover, the gang members sold the infants' fake birth certificates to the buyers through an e-commerce website, according to the ministry.

In 2010, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice jointly gave notice they would attack trafficking crimes targeting women and children.

It stipulated that if suspects provide a network platform to facilitate child trafficking, or offer fake birth certificates or household registrations of the abducted children, they will be held criminally accountable.

Dai Peng, a professor at People's Public Security University, suggested that along with police crackdowns, hospitals should take blood samples of newborns in order to include them in the national DNA database.

"Thus, when people report trafficking cases or when abducted children are rescued, police can take blood samples to connect the victims with their natural parents," he said.



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