Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:39AM
Police in China have rescued nearly 90 children and seized more than 350 suspects during a crackdown on nine child trafficking rings nationwide. China's Ministry of Public Security says it started the operation on 18 December in response to mounting reports of abductions. The Ministry says it has broken up the networks which were spanned across nine different provinces. They would buy the abducted children in inland Yunnan and Sichuan and sell them on, with the final buyer often in richer coastal provinces. According to reports, in one case, a 1-month-old baby boy from Yunnan was sold for $10,000 to a family in coastal Fujian. While the arrested suspects are being questioned, the rescued children are now being cared for at local nursing homes while police search for their parents. Child trafficking is a problem with centuries of history in China. It remains a problem today, in spite of vigorous efforts by the government to stamp it out. Kidnapped male children are typically bought by couples who are desperate for an heir. Females, in contrast, may be lured into captivity and then sold into households for use as extra labor, or as brides for unmarried sons. According to Dale Rutstein of UNICEF, poverty is a root cause of the problem. Migration to escape poverty creates opportunities for criminals, which is why so much trafficking occurs in the border province of Yunnan. Since April 2009, when it started a crackdown campaign, the Ministry of Public Security says its men have broken up 11,000 child trafficking rings and rescued some 54,000 children.