Police in China busted more than 1,000 people who were suspects in several infant trafficking rings, according to local media. The authorities rescued 382 infants from a total of 1,094 people who were accused of buying and selling the infants online on four websites promoting private adoptions.
The nationwide operation was initiated on February 19 after authorities were alerted about the corrupt websites. Police began investigating the so-called adoption websites, which turned out to be fronts for child traffickers. Suspects used website names such as “Dream Adoption Home” and “China’s Orphan Network” to attract buyers to their deceptive infant bartering locations.
China’s Xinhua news agency said that the “adoption” websites were common among human traffickers. Unfortunately, China’s authorities have often refused to start analysis about the human trafficking problem because of the threat that too much negative success in stopping these illegal operations might tarnish their record. Law enforcement has also declined to pursue families who have purchased the infants. Busting the infant trafficking rings in China seems to have been the first major step to quell the ongoing concern about the nation’s terrible problem.
In addition, the agency warned parents about the threat of possible kidnappers in hospitals or near schools.
Due to China’s strict laws limiting families to only one child and boys being favored over girls, infant trafficking, involuntary sterilization, forced abortions, and abductions are prevalent across the country. Poverty and illegal profits encourages the desire for infant trafficking, which is why the baby market is in high demand. Parents often feel cornered to sell their infants on the black market because of the harsh penalties to families who have more than one child.
China is a male dominated society and this is a large contributing factor to the infant trafficking rings that the authorities recently dispersed. Sons are expected to carry on the family line as well as provide for their parents in old age. Daughters are obligated to her husband’s family and are thought to be a burden. Parents expecting a child are provided with an ultrasound so that the fetal sex is determined before the infant is born. Sadly, countless female fetuses were aborted as a result of the male bias. But when abortion is not an option, that’s where human trafficking steps in.
Baby trafficker Duan Yueneng was convicted of selling Chinese baby girls and spoke to the Marketplace about the “need” to offload female infants on the black market. Yueneng even admitted to wanting to get rid of his own daughter and tried to put her on the street. “Nobody wanted her, so I finally took her back.”
He continued by saying that parents from America and other countries were interested in adopting Chinese infants. Parents would pay $3,000 to an orphanage or sometimes bought the infants from Yeuneng directly. His mother contributed to the infant trafficking, he said. She would transport babies in milk cardboard boxes from Zhanjiang, Guangdong to Changnin, Hunan.
Since the infant trafficking issue has obviously gotten out of hand, China’s National People’s Congress eased the one-child policy last year, now allowing couples to have two children if either parent is an only child. China is now also considering harsher penalties for parents who sell their children. Although these changes are positive steps in the right direction, China still faces an abundance of infant trafficking rings nationwide and busting all of them might be quite difficult.
By Amy Nelson