To any civilized society, human trafficking is a serious crime as it violates basic human rights.
To better protect the rights and interests of its people, the Chinese government has been fighting the scourge for years even if it has not been an easy task for a country the size of China.
Thanks to persistent crackdowns, trafficking in women and children which peaked in the 1980s and 1990s and remained rampant in several provinces, has been effectively checked. The occurrence rate has now decreased by 20 to 30 percent annually.
However, against the backdrop of increased mobility in our population and regional imbalance, the situation of human trafficking is taking on new features.
Cases of forced labor and sexual exploitation have been on the rise, posing a threat to social stability and our nation's welfare.
In a worst scenario, hundreds of migrant workers and under-age people were found in June having been trafficked to work in illegal brick kilns in Shanxi and Henan provinces.
The plight of those victims drew much concern from the government and the society, and triggered a massive national crackdown on illegal brick kilns.
The government is now responding even more aggressively to the new types of human trafficking. The Ministry of Public Security said recently the country will soon set up the first national mechanism for combating human trafficking and protecting women and children from falling victim to forced labor and prostitution.
This is certainly good news for innocent victims and righteous people who uphold social equity and dignity of the law.
Concerned ministries are rallying together to fight trans-provincial human trafficking along with the participation of international organizations such as the International Labor Organization.
Meanwhile, trans-border cooperation with our neighbors in cracking down on the trafficking of women and children has also been enhanced.
While all these measures are necessary to increase the momentum to wipe out human trafficking, efforts should also be made to plug loopholes in our legal system.
The lack of laws has been one of the major reasons behind the worsening situation of forced labor and prostitution.
(China Daily 09/06/2007 page9)