China

China police trace families of trafficked babies

Screengrab of CCTV footage of baby trafficking arrests Image copyright CCTV
Image caption China's CCTV showed footage of police arresting members of the baby trafficking ring

Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Yunnan are searching for the parents of 11 infants rescued from a baby trafficking ring.

Police in the province's capital, Kunming, released pictures of the babies to local media on Thursday with the hope of tracing their families.

But they also said that many of the infants may have been sold to the ring by their parents.

Police have arrested 32 people accused of being involved in the trafficking.

Many of the alleged traffickers were related to each other while the rest were close friends or came from the same town in Yunnan, they said, according to local media reports.

They said the ring had sold 21 children in total, some to buyers in other provinces such as Shandong, Fujian and Henan.

Police said their suspicions were first aroused in August last year when officers came across a middle-aged couple with non-local accents preparing to board a train at Kunming with an infant who appeared to be only a few weeks old.

After questioning, the couple admitted to buying the baby from traffickers.

Police later uncovered a network buying babies from remote villages and transporting them to willing buyers.

The babies' families were allegedly paid up to 10,000 yuan (£1,033, $1,633), and the infants were in turn sold for at least 10 times that sum, up to 140,000 yuan.

The rescued children, who are around eight months old, are currently being taken care of in a nursery. One with congenital glaucoma has been treated and is recovering, said police.

Child trafficking has been a persistent problem in China. Critics say the country's one-child policy and lax adoption laws have fuelled demand.

In 2012, Chinese authorities made one of their biggest sweeps and broke up two major child trafficking gangs, arresting more than 800 suspects across the country and freeing 181 children.

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