More forced into prostitution, labor

By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-07-27 06:52

Forced labor and sexual exploitation have increased as the trend in human trafficking in China has taken a turn for the worst.

That is the assessment of a senior public security official who was talking on the loopholes in the country's labor system and Criminal Law yesterday.

Yin Jianzhong, a senior official of the anti-trafficking office of the Ministry of Public Security, said: "Forced labor and sexual exploitation are the two new outcomes of human trafficking in China and the number of such cases is rising."

The number of forced laborers and the sexually exploited has risen partly because of the loopholes in the legal and labor systems, he added.

The Criminal Law on human trafficking protects women and children only and leaves out grown-up and teen males. It doesn't have provisions for punishing those trafficking people for forced labor or prostitution, Yin said.

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Analyzing the reasons behind the increase in forced labor and sexual exploitation cases, Allan Dow, International Labor Organization's Communications Officer of Mekong Project to Combat Trafficking in Children and Women, said: "Trafficking is not just about sex and baby selling, it is also about labor and sexual exploitation.

"Countries the size of China will have difficulty in fighting such trafficking."

The fast economic growth of China and movement of a large number of people within the country and imbalanced regional development have increased labor and sexual exploitation, Dow said.

But the number of children and women trafficked to continue "the family line" or be forced into marriage has been declining in recent years, thanks to crackdowns that began in the 1980s.

"The selling of women and children has been checked," Yin said. The number of such cases has been dropping 20 to 30 percent a year.

About 3,000 such cases are reported to police across the country every year, he said. But the number may not give the entire picture because many cases go unreported.

Trafficking in women and children is most serious in Guangdong, Fujian, Henan, Sichuan and Anhui provinces.

To facilitate legislation and fight human trafficking of all kinds, the ministry set up an anti-trafficking office again early this month, Yin said. It was first set up to tackle the problem that reached its peak in the 1980s and 1990s.

Though the biggest problem for China is the movement of a large number of people, cross-border trafficking too is a cause for worry, Dow said.

(China Daily 07/27/2007 page1)

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