Islamabad, 629 child brides sold to China

The Associated Press has managed to get the original reports of the complaints. Officials under anonymity denounce pressure from the Pakistani government to block investigations that would ruin the "profitable" link with Beijing. Intermediaries earn up to 58 thousand euros for each bride sold, but families are given only about 1,160.

Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 629 Pakistani girls sold as enslaved brides to Chinese husbands: This is the official number of the recent phenomenon of trafficking in women from the South Asian country to the Chinese giant. This was revealed by an investigation by the Associated Press, which managed to have the original reports of the complaints filed since 2018.

However, according to investigators, the phenomenon is far more extensive, if only the judicial authorities had continued to register the complaints at the same pace as the first few months. After an initial investigative momentum, there is a progressive slowdown in the registration of cases.

People "informed of the facts" motivate this contraction due to pressure and interference from the Islamabad government. In fact, it would have exercised its influence to curb investigations so as not to damage the "profitable" link with Beijing.

Proof of this is the acquittal of 31 Chinese in a single case of trafficking in human beings, freed by the court of Faisalabad in October. According to some family members of the victims, who speak under anonymity, the accusing victims later refused to testify against their torturers because of threats or for compensation received to keep silent.

The scandal of Christian and Muslim women sold as sex slaves for Chinese husbands emerged in mid-2019. The high number of victims involved in this new market in human beings reveals the presence of branched organizations in Pakistan and China. The "success" of arranged marriages is ensured by the complicity of pastors who celebrate weddings and intermediaries who act as victimizers and translators. In general, girls are sold as brides and then forced to satisfy their husbands' sexual pleasures or used for organ trafficking.

The "chosen ones" are in particular girls who are very poor and illiterate, unable to recognize the danger and the seductive practices of traffickers. Some see in the "Chinese dream" the resolution to all their ills: indigence, absent families, previously failed romantic relationships. However, an anonymous source reveals that, ultimately, the economic advantage for families is not that relevant. " For every bride Chinese and Pakistani intermediaries - he says - earn from 4 to 10 million rupees [from 23 thousand to 58 thousand euros, ed], but only 200 thousand [around 1,160 euros] are given to families".

Another official adds: "No one is helping these girls. The racket continues and is on the rise. Why? The reason is that they know they can get away with it. The authorities will not complete the proceedings; everyone is asked not to investigate. The trafficking is now growing”.