U.S. Exposes Trafficking Problems Caused by China's One-Child Policy



For decades, China has shrouded its severe human trafficking problem in silence. But the U.S. State Department’s 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report ended that silence last week, downgrading China to the worst possible rating, Tier 3. Thoroughly researched and brutally honest, the report exposes China’s failure to address primary causes of human trafficking, including the One-Child Policy. The report declares:


“The Government of the People’s Republic of China does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking…Despite [some] modest signs of interest in anti-trafficking reforms, the Chinese government did not demonstrate significant efforts to comprehensively prohibit and punish all forms of trafficking and to prosecute traffickers.”


In 2006, the annual Trafficking in Persons Report placed China on the Tier 2 Watch List, intending to pressure China into fighting human trafficking within its borders. But China has shown little improvement since then, and its grace period ended this year. Now China joins 20 other nations, including North Korea , Syria and the Congo, on Tier 3.


The State Department’s bold report correctly cites the One-Child Policy as a primary cause of widespread commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor in China.


“The Chinese government’s birth limitation policy [the One-Child Policy] and a cultural preference for sons create a skewed sex ratio of 118 boys to 100 girls in China, which served as a key source of demand for the trafficking of foreign women as brides for Chinese men and for forced prostitution.”


This straightforward disapproval of the One-Child Policy is unusually bold for the U.S., whose leaders have seldom been willing to openly criticize the policy. The report even cites China’s insistence on clinging to coercive family planning as one cause of its downgrade.


“[In the past year] the [Chinese] government did not address the effects its birth limitation policy had in creating a gender imbalance and fueling trafficking, particularly through bride trafficking and forced marriage.”


China highlights its failure to address these deeply rooted problems by refusing to acknowledge them at all. The Trafficking in Persons report scathingly rebukes China for providing little accurate information to the public about human trafficking within its borders. Yet even after the State Department released the report last week, the Chinese government emphatically denied its claims. According to an Associated Press release, Chinese embassy spokesman Geng Shuang said the report "disregards [China’s] efforts in combating human trafficking and makes irresponsible judgment on other countries' internal policy and practice."


The U.S. government has 90 days to decide whether to impose new sanctions on China. In light of China’s crucial economic relationship with the U.S. and Obama’s recent talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the next step is difficult to predict. The U.S. has demonstrated willingness to call smaller nations to account on human trafficking and other human rights violations. But will the U.S. express similar boldness with China, its massive trading partner whose human trafficking record was just ranked equal to North Korea’s? In coming weeks, the U.S. should consider the suggestions for tactful yet firm sanctions that Chen Guangcheng presented in his recent Huffington Post op-ed.


China’s downgrade is well deserved and long overdue. At All Girls Allowed, we praise God that the extensive, deeply rooted problems caused by the One-Child Policy are being brought to light. By making the truth known, the U.S. government can place pressure on China to end the One-Child Policy and bring its victims to justice. Ending the silence is only the first step toward ending human trafficking and gendercide.


Yet we grieve for the unknown number of innocent men, women and children who suffer under the Chinese government’s silent injustices. We pray earnestly that God would shine the light of His truth into China in order to “bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness the prisoners.” (Isaiah 61:1) Only His compassion can inspire world leaders to speak out for justice.



by Sarah Elliott, All Girls Allowed

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