Few re­ports even touch upon the le­gal con­se­quences for cou­ples who long ago bought these ab­ducted chil­dren from traf­fick­ers.

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

re­ports, ei­ther in news­pa­per or on tele­vi­sion, about teenagers or grown-ups that have found their way back to their ge­netic par­ents, ei­ther on their own or with the help of gov­ern­ment and char­ity or­ga­ni­za­tions, af­ter liv­ing with the “par­ents” who have bought them from traf­fick­ers for years, even decades.

Al­most all media paint a very sooth­ing pic­ture of these sce­nar­ios, with the newly re­united fam­i­lies hug­ging one another sur­rounded by smil­ing neigh­bors. It seems as if the re­turnee has just fin­ished a long jour­ney and has ar­rived back home af­ter a long ab­sence.

Fewre­ports even touch upon the le­gal con­se­quences for cou­ples who long ago bought these ab­ducted chil­dren from traf­fick­ers.

When­ever I read or see such re­ports, a big ques­tion thunders inmy head: What kind of pun­ish­ment should these buy­ers of kids re­ceive, who might, as a re­sult of liv­ing to­gether with traf­ficked chil­dren for a long time and hid­ing the true sto­ries from them, have nur­tured strong emo­tional ties with the child they have stolen from oth­ers.

Here comes a typ­i­cal case where emo­tion over­takes laws. The ge­netic par­ents should have a thou­sand good rea­sons for hat­ing the buy­ers, be­cause they can­not easily for­get how many sleep­less, des­per­ate nights they have been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing since their kids left them for an un­known place with­out say­ing good­bye.

But know­ing their chil­dren have suf­fered a lot, the ge­netic par­ents re­ally have no heart to rub more salt on their wounds by bring­ing the buy­ers of their ab­ducted chil­dren to court.

There needs to be a stricter law­tar­get­ing these buy­ers that sends them to jail, no mat­ter how long they have been rais­ing the chil­dren and no mat­ter how well they have been treat­ing them.

Only by do­ing that, can we send a strong warn­ing to the po­ten­tial buy­ers of traf­ficked chil­dren.

When the buy­ing stops, the traf­fick­ing will too. The au­thor is a se­nior editor with China Daily. suqiang@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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