China launches website to help birth parents find trafficked children

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China has launched a website to provide information on trafficked children, in an effort to find rescued victims’ birth parents, state media said Monday.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs began hosting the site on Saturday and by Sunday, it had received more than 1.6 million page views, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.

The website lists profiles of 284 rescued children, including their photos, names, locations where they were found when rescued and contact information.

The site will release more children’s profiles in the future and coordinate with welfare agencies that process parents’ inquiries, the report said.

In January, police in northern Shandong province rescued 37 babies and arrested 103 suspected child traffickers.

The newborn babies had been fed with instant noodles and leftover vegetables, according to state media, and traffickers were arranging to sell the boys for prices between 50,000 yuan (7,865 US dollars) and 80,000 yuan.

In February 2014, another bust made headlines when police rescued 382 infants and detained more than 1,000 suspects from four major online baby-trafficking rings.

Police officials have told state media that large profits were fuelling “rampant” child trafficking, despite harsh penalties.

A traditional preference for male heirs and a state-enforced family planning policy have supported the trade in boys in particular with trafficked baby girls attracting lower prices.

Infant boys could be bought for around 30,000 yuan in poor areas and sold for up to 90,000 yuan in wealthier provinces, such as Fujian and neighbouring Guangdong, according to state media reports.

Couples who purchase trafficked children tend to want sons to help them “carry on the family line” and to support them in old age, according to China Daily.

Chinese law stipulates that buyers of trafficked children will only be held criminally responsible if they defied rescue efforts or physically abused the children.

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