IMAGE: China Photos / Getty Images, from TIME Magazine
JIANGSU, China -- According to a report by TIME Magazine, Chinese police arrested seven members of a child trafficking ring in Jiangsu province in late August. At the same time, they were able to rescue 10 babies that had been trafficked by the same group. Surprisingly, though, the parents of these babies did not want to take them back.
These children were trafficked from a poor mountainous region in Sichuan province, where average annual incomes are below $400/year. Traffickers will often pay more than $4,000 for a healthy child, in order to sell them to wealthier families in the east who either desire to have a son of their own, or want a child-bride for their existing son. In this case, it was discovered that these 10 infants were not kidnapped, as originally assumed, but sold.
Authorities say that not one of the parents came forward to receive their rescued children. Police believe that there are two reasons for this reticence on the part of the parents: (1) the parents fear they will have to surrender the profits they made from selling their child; and (2) the parents are concerned about having to pay fines for having an extra child in violation of the One-Child Policy.
As All Girls Allowed reported last week, these fines have provided a significant amount of income for local and provincial governments, and can reach several times the average annual income. It can take years or even a lifetime to pay off these fines, a nearly impossible task when one considers the other penalties for violating the One-Child Policy: losing your job, undergoing forced sterilization (occasionally leading to severe health complications), and losing the essential hukou registration for your child that gives them access to public health, education and transportation.
The travesty of this situation? Police have said that with no place for the rescued babies, they will return them to the families who bought them.
All Girls Allowed commends the efforts of the police officers who courageously discharged their duties in the name of justice. One can only imagine how disappointing and discouraging it must be, then, for these same police officers to return these trafficked children to their buyers. The inconsistencies of China's justice system notwithstanding, the real tragedy is that by making children illegal, China has created an underground market for the buying and selling of children. True, child trafficking exists in all nations, but not to the extent as in China where an estimated 70,000 to 200,000 children are trafficked every single year. Until China abolishes the One-Child Policy, valient efforts by the police force to clamp down will prove futile even in situations of so-called "success", such as this case.
Even deeper, though, is the need for real heart change through the redeeming love of Jesus Christ. It is the love of a God who sent his only Son on our behalf that can compel parents, traffickers, and buyers alike to give up their deeds done in darkness, and to embrace all children as gifts from God. Join us as we pray for an end to all forms of trafficking in China!
by Brian Lee, All Girls Allowed
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