Baby-Selling Ring Broken Up in China

January 13, 2015 Updated: January 15, 2015

An abandoned factory in eastern China’s Shandong Province was recently discovered to be the site of a large infant trafficking group that imported pregnant women to give birth and also went far afield to buy new borns. The babies were fed instant noodles and discarded vegetables, and some of them were sexually abused, while the traffickers looked for buyers.

Shandong police rescued 37 children and arrested 103 suspects involved in the ring, according to state-run Central China Television (CCTV) on Jan. 12. The oldest child was three years-old.

The trafficking group sold a female baby for about 60,000 yuan ($9,677) and a male baby for 80,000 yuan ($12,903), the report says.

The trafficking group rented an abandoned factory in a suburb of Jining City to house pregnant women until their babies are born. The shabby factory attracted police attention last July, when a number of pregnant women were sent there from the local train station once every few days, The women would leave by themselves in a few days after giving birth.

The trafficking group sold a female baby for about 60,000 yuan ($9,677) and a male baby for 80,000 yuan ($12,903), the report says.

The CCTV footage shows that the “delivery room” in the factory was very small, dark, and filthy and without any medical facilities. Police said when they discovered the place, they found seven suspects and a newborn baby who was hidden under two heavy winter quilts.

After the babies were born, they were transported to an abandoned hospital for infectious diseases in rural area to hide until the traffickers found customers to buy the babies.

The babies were kept in a freezing cold mortuary in the abandoned hospital, and they were fed mostly instant noodles, discarded vegetables, and other instant food, police said.

“Almost none of the rescued 37 children is healthy. They all have different degrees of illnesses,” police officer Hou Jun said. Seven of the children have sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS and syphilis, the report says.

The trafficking group not only brought pregnant women from other places to Shandong for delivery, but also traveled to other provinces such as southwestern China’s Sichuan and Yunnan to buy new born babies, the report says.

It’s difficult to find the birth parents of the 37 rescued children because most of the parents sold the babies to the trafficking group willingly for money. Only a three year-old baby has been returned to her parents because she was sold by her grandmother and aunt against the mother’s will, the report says.

The other children are currently being kept by their adoptive parents and two local orphanages, police said.