10/14/2015, 00.00
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Kept in a pigsty, women with disabilities sold as "brides" to peasants in northern China

Police smashes a ten-member ring involved in trafficking mentally-impaired women. The latter were bought for as little as US$ 500 and sold for as high as US$ 16,000 to farmers in northern China for “breeding” their children. As a result of China’s one-child policy, sex ratios are skewed with 118 boys at birth for every 100 girls.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - A criminal gang bought mentally impaired women and held them in a pigsty in northern China to be sold as brides, Xinhua reported. Police eventually arrested ten people.

The women, who ranged in age between 20 and 30, were bought from their families, who considered them a burden, in Guangdong province and the Guangxi region of southern China for 3,000 yuan to 5,000 yuan (US$ 500 to 800) with the promise that they would be married to a well-off family.

Mentally disabled people are generally considered a burden by their families. Once sold, the women were brought to Shandong province and kept in a pigsty run by Sun, one of the traffickers, to wait for buyers to come and choose their “brides”. 

Sun would find prospective buyers for the women who knew that their brides were mentally impaired but only wanted them to give birth to their children. He would then alert a middleman who would ask local “matchmakers” to find mentally impaired women in Guangxi and Guangdong.

The case was cracked when two men travelling with a mentally impaired woman on a train from Guangxi to northern China attracted the attention of railway police.

The women were usually between 20 and 30. Their “price” ranged between 50,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan (US$ 8,000 and 16,000), this according to Xu Jian, a police officer handling the case. The gang earned hundreds of thousands of yuan over two years.

In its report, Xinhua noted that families were generally indifferent about the fate of their daughters.

One family even refused to take their daughter back from her buyer, saying they were too poor. Her parents only agreed to care for her again after their local government promised to give a monthly subsidy.

Unfortunately, such scandals are not new in China, where human trafficking touches especially young, poor women.

In addition,  China’s one-child policy, the traditional preference for sons and pre-natal ultrasound technology that show the sex of the unborn have led to an unparalleled gender imbalance.

According to official data, reported by Xinhua today, about 118 boys are born for every 100 girls in China. However, other sources indicate that the real ratio is 123 to 100.

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