An unusual business was shut down by police in China recently, after men were discovered buying unwanted babies from teenage mothers, and then selling them to couples wanting to adopt, often for a tidy profit.
The infant traffickers perpetrated the scheme by making posts online posing as adopters, or responding to other online notes by expectant mothers who could not keep their babies. A number of major websites have featured such posts in recent years, including Baidu’s Paste Bar, and Tianya Club.
Police in Dezhou City in eastern China’s Shandong Province found a number of suspects who confessed to selling 10 newborn babies in this manner over the last three years, finding the pregnant mothers on the Internet. They made over $82,000
Police said that they have arrested 13 suspects, according to Shandong Television, a state-run broadcaster.
Wang, one of the suspects, was arrested after he bought and then sold two newborn babies, in Dezhou on Jan. 8. He told police that the mothers were teenagers who had unintended pregnancies.
The price for the newborns ranged from 30,000 yuan ($4,920) to 60,000 yuan ($9,839) to the adopters.
He is understood to have paid a nominal sum to the mothers, to relieve them of the infants.
The idea for the scheme came to Wang after he saw posts online by pregnant girls that wanted to get rid of their babies, but could not afford abortions.
Wang pretended to be an adopting parent, offering to pay for the girls’ accommodation and hospital stays in Dezhou, until the babies were born.
Wang and his wife would then advertise the newly acquired babies for adoption.
One such adopter, surnamed Ma, told police that his requirement was only that the baby be “healthy and have no disability.” He said he paid for the costs of the birth.
The teenage mothers were unaware of the trading. One young mother told police she received 500 yuan ($82) from Wang for her baby.
Three babies have been found so far; the police are searching for the others, Chinese reports said.
Legal adoption in China is a complex and difficult process, fraught with bureaucracy and hoops to jump through.
Among the strict requirements for adoption include an evaluation of the prospective parents’ ages, their educational background, financial capacity, and evidence that they do not already have children. (The Chinese regime’s one-child policy until recently stipulated that couples could usually only have one baby.)
Chinese welfare agencies often favor foreign adopters over Chinese applicants, because they can be induced to pay more over the lengthy adoption process. International adoption from China costs around $30,000 in total, according to Beijing News.