Po­lice break up baby traf­fick­ing ring

Net­work across four prov­inces sold 10 in­fant boys since March 2012

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By ZHOU WENTING in Shang­hai zhouwent­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn Los­ing cus­tody rights

Par­ents who in­ten­tion­ally sell their chil­dren should be de­prived of cus­tody rights, le­gal ex­perts said af­ter po­lice ar­rested seven peo­ple on sus­pi­cion of traf­fick­ing in­fants, most of whom they say were given up will­ingly by par­ents.

Po­lice in Xuzhou, Jiangsu prov­ince, broke up a crim­i­nal net­work across four prov­inces that has traf­ficked 10 boys un­der 12 months old since March last year, po­lice told China Daily on Wed­nes­day.

All the ba­bies have been found, they said.

With one ex­cep­tion, all the traf­ficked ba­bies are still with the par­ents who paid to adopt them “be­cause the in­fants were sold by the par­ents, who don’t want to take them back”, said Hou Qiguang, a spokesman for the Xuzhou rail­way po­lice.

One baby is be­ing kept in the city’s wel­fare home be­cause po­lice have been un­able to get hold of the adop­tive par­ents, Hou said.

Po­lice said they have vis­ited all 10 ba­bies to en­sure they are in good care, and po­lice are still work­ing on de­cid­ing the boys’ fu­ture.

The crim­i­nal net­work came to light when a 30- year- old woman caught the at­ten­tion of po­lice by ar­riv­ing at Xuzhou Rail­way Sta­tion on the night of June 3, hav­ing trav­eled alone from Chengdu, Sichuan prov­ince, and with­out lug­gage but car­ry­ing an in­fant.

“Her way of hold­ing the baby was very weird. Usu­ally, a mother holds her baby by cir­cling the in­fant, as if pro­vid­ing a cra­dle, but she only used one arm to hold the in­fant on his back,” said po­lice­woman Liu Tao, who was then pa­trolling the plat­form.

Liu and her col­leagues thought the woman was pos­si­bly a child traf­ficker af­ter see­ing her in­dif­fer­ence to the baby’s cries. They fol­lowed her for half an hour and saw her meet a man at the exit of the rail­way sta­tion.

Po­lice stopped the man and woman and took them in for ques­tion­ing. They later con­fessed that the 1-mon­thold baby had been bought for 30,000 yuan ($ 4,900) from the Liang­shan Yi au­ton­o­mous pre­fec­ture in Sichuan in May, and that they were send­ing him to an ac­com­plice in Xuzhou.

The woman is a na­tive of Bu­tuo county of Sichuan, and the 32-year-old man is from Ning­nan county of the same prov­ince.

Po­lice later cap­tured their five ac­com­plices, who were scat­tered in Jiangsu, Shan­dong, Sichuan and Guizhou prov­inces.

They had made more than 500,000 yuan in the past 16 months, ac­cord­ing to the po­lice, by pur­chas­ing the in­fants from Sichuan and Guizhou for be­tween 20,000 and 30,000 yuan, then sell­ing them for be­tween 40,000 and 50,000 yuan to cus­tomers in Fengx­ian and Peix­ian coun­ties in Xuzhou, and Weis­han county in Shan­dong.

China Daily re­ported pre­vi­ously that in im­pov­er­ished ar­eas, such as Yun­nan and Sichuan, vil­lagers have sold their chil­dren, while in rel­a­tively well-off prov­inces, such as Fu­jian, Guang­dong and Shan­dong, child­less cou­ples have bought baby boys from traf­fick­ers in or­der to con­tinue their fam­ily for an­other gen­er­a­tion.

Par­ents who have sold their ba­bies are not suit­able as guardians and the in­fants should be sent else­where for bet­ter care, said ex­perts in baby traf­fick­ing cases and re­lated laws.

“The govern­ment should de­prive the par­ents of their cus­tody rights, as they might sell the ba­bies again if they are re­turned to the fam­i­lies. Chil­dren are not likely to be in good con­di­tion in such an en­vi­ron­ment,” said Zhang Baoyan, founder of Baby Back Home, a web­site that posts in­for­ma­tion about miss­ing chil­dren.

“The civil af­fairs depart­ment should trans­fer the chil­dren to wel­fare homes or des­ig­nate other guardians or so­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions for foster care,” she said.

Yi Shenghua, di­rec­tor of crim­i­nal cases at the Yingke Law Firm in Bei­jing, said: “Th­ese dys­func­tional par­ents should at least be de­prived of cus­tody tem­po­rar­ily and pre­vented from re­gain­ing cus­tody un­til they have proved them­selves ca­pa­ble of pro­tect­ing the chil­dren as much as pos­si­ble.

“Mean­while, they must bear le­gal li­a­bil­ity of aban­don­ment and hu­man traf­fick­ing, al­though we’re sym­pa­thetic with re­gard to their liv­ing con­di­tions, which prompt them to make money by sell­ing chil­dren,” he said.

He added that those who pur­chased the chil­dren should be given stiff penal­ties as a de­ter­rent.

A re­porter from Yangtze Evening News, who is based in Xuzhou and de­clined to be named, said the traf­fick­ers take ad­van­tage of at­ti­tudes in some places where baby boys are con­sid­ered es­sen­tial for a fam­ily.

HOU QIGUANG / FOR CHINA DAILY

A woman holds a baby who po­lice say she bought in Sichuan prov­ince, af­ter they were stopped by po­lice in Xuzhou, Jiangsu prov­ince, in early June. Ex­perts in baby traf­fick­ing said par­ents who sell their ba­bies should not get their chil­dren back.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.