11/24/2005, 00.00
China

Charity workers in Hunan orphanage arrested for selling babies

Chinese police arrested 27 people for buying and selling babies to individuals or other orphanages. China's "one child" policy for birth control is seen as catalyst for human trafficking.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Chinese police arrested 27 people, mostly charity workers, for buying and selling babies through state-run orphanages in the central province of Hunan.

Police on Monday arrested the head of Hengyang county orphanage and six other members of staff, as well as 20 others working for orphanages in the province. A day earlier, police in nearby Qidong county arrested a human trafficker who sold kidnapped babies to the Hengyang institution and other orphanages for prices between 800 and 1,200 yuan.

After the orphanages obtained the newborns, they then on-sold them to individuals or other orphanages and children's homes for prices between 8,000 and 30,000 yuan. It's impossible to say how many babies the orphanages had bought and sold, nor the newborns' age.

These state-run orphanages were taking advantage of a Chinese government policy that grants funding according to how many children they raise. China's "one child" birth control policy and the country's long tradition of favouring boys are seen as catalysts for the trafficking of children.

Last year, 3,500 children were rescued from their captors in 1,975 cases, according to earlier state media reports.

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