15 Chinese babies rescued from child trafficking ring

SHANGHAI • Police in China have broken a child trafficking ring that they say had been selling children from the remote south-west to buyers near the coast for as little as 20,000 yuan (S$4,300), state news agency Xinhua reported.

Police caught 78 suspects and rescued 15 infants, the report on Wednesday said. Xinhua said police spotted a suspicious couple in September that travelled frequently between the town of Liangshan in Sichuan province and the city of Linyi in Shandong province.

"The wife purchased infants inLiangshan and transported them to Linyi. The husband was responsible for seeking buyers in the city," it said, quoting the findings of the investigation.

Baby boys were sold for between 50,000 and 60,000 yuan, while girls were sold for between 20,000 and 30,000 yuan, Xinhua quoted police as saying.

The rescued infants are being cared for by a local civil affairs department. Doctors have taken blood samples to help find their biological parents, Xinhua reported.

Child trafficking is rampant in China, where population control policies, although recently relaxed, have bolstered a traditional bias for male offspring. They are seen as the main support for elderly parents and heirs to the family name, resulting in abortions, killings or abandonment of girls. This has created criminal demand for abducted or bought baby boys, and also for baby girls destined to be future brides attracting rich dowries.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 22, 2016, with the headline '15 Chinese babies rescued from child trafficking ring'. Print Edition | Subscribe