Parents in China have been discovered to be trafficking in their own offspring, selling their babies to agents who then find new families for them, according to recent reports in the Chinese press. Thousands of dollars change hands in the deals, though it does not always turn out well for the children being traded: after being sold, some die as a result of poor feeding or transport conditions, while others are intentionally disabled and made street beggars to bring in money.
Expectant mothers in Butuo County in southern Sichuan Province took the initiative to contact an intermediary of a baby trafficking ring, according to a Qilu Evening News report on Oct.18.
The traffickers took the women to Zhoucheng in Shandong Province; after birth the babies were examined and, if healthy, deals were cut on the spot.
Boys fetched around $7,840 while girls were sold at $4,704, with the baby broker taking a hefty commission, Qilu Evening News reported.
Over the last three years this baby trafficking ring made 11 transactions, Qilu Evening News reported. The youngest baby was only a few days old and the oldest was less than a month old. The babies change hands five or six times before reaching the destination family—though they did not always make it.
An investigative report by Southern Weekend concludes that while most of the babies sold were actually adopted by the buyers, others died during as a result of malnutrition, neglect, or rough transport along the way; still others were made cripples and forced beg on the streets on behalf of criminals.
The sale of babies by their natural parents in China has been reported before. Beijing News, Changjiang Daily and other media in April of this year exposed a baby-trafficking network run by a family.
From March 2005 to July 2009 traffickers sold 49 babies from Yunnan to Hebei. One baby died. Boys were sold for $4,000 and little girls for a bit over half of that.
The phrase “Baby-selling is more profitable than raising hogs” has been passed around in some poverty-stricken regions in Yunnan Province in southwest China. A Southern Weekly report in 2005 revealed that more than 50 percent of the villagers in three counties in Yunnan Province had sold their own children, and in some areas it was as high as 80 percent.
Hong Kong’s Oriental Daily reported in February several cases of callous parents. Seven child beggars rescued in Sanya, Hainan Province, for example, were found to have been rented out by their parents. All of them were ill-treated.
An eight year-old girl among them, named Fongfong, said she was habitually beaten because she did not bring in enough money through begging during the day. The punishment included fingernail torture, tongue cuts and the forced eating of excrement, she said, according to Oriental Daily.
Read the original Chinese article.