Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Chinese police arrested more than a thousand child traffickers in various cities across the country, the Public Security Ministry announced.
Police carried out various raids in 27 municipalities, rescuing 382 children. They also dismantled four gangs devoted exclusively to child trafficking.
The problem is very important in mainland China because the country's decades-old one-child policy has drastically reduced its birth rate.
According to the police, traffickers have tricked doctors, nurses and parents into giving up children and four websites were found to be providing "adoption services" for "abandoned children".
Some of 1,094 people arrested have already confessed. One of the suspects, Zhou Daifu, said he paid up to 3,000 yuan (US$ 500) to another suspect for procuring government registration certificates for smuggled babies.
China's one-child policy, inadequate adoption laws, poverty and traditional preference for boys have encouraged child trafficking.
Many families buy children to use as cheap labor, domestic workers, or as brides for unmarried sons. In other cases, children are sold to families who want to adopt, or are forced into prostitution.
According to China National Radio, every year about 200,000 children disappear in China. Of these, only 0.1 per cent are ever found and freed from their shackles.
In November 2013, the Chinese government announced its intention to reform the one-child law with the Standing Committee of the People's National Congress adopting formal changes on 28 December 2013. However, many questions remain as to the nature of these changes since local governments retain jurisdiction in the matter.