Chinese police have rescued 382 abducted babies and arrested 1,094 suspects in a national operation that busted four major Internet-based baby trafficking rings, the Public Security Ministry said on Friday.
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV aired recent footage of operations across the country, including suspects being taken into custody and suspected trafficked children being rescued.
The operation came after police in Beijing and the eastern province of Jiangsu last year found four websites selling babies under the cover of adoption, the ministry said.
They added that Internet technologies have assisted baby traffickers by providing more secretive covers for their businesses.
“He told us ‘the baby isn’t here, the baby isn’t here, there is no baby’ and none of us believed him. So we went inside and found the baby right away,” said one police officer involved in the operation to CCTV.
Child abduction is a major problem in China despite punishments as harsh as the death sentence for traffickers, and national-level busts of trafficking rings have been frequent in recent years.
“Some people who wanted to adopt a baby approached me. I wanted to make money and thought that I might not get caught, that’s why I did it,” child trafficking suspect Zhou Daifu told police during an interrogation, aired by CCTV.
Strict laws that limit many families to one child, a traditional preference for boys, poverty and illicit profits drive a thriving market in babies and children.
To address the problem, China is considering tougher penalties for parents who sell their children, as well as for the buyers.
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