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101 EAST
China's missing children
What can be done to stop the black market trade of children in the People's Republic?
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2010 13:43 GMT



Tens of thousands of children are abducted and sold in China's black market every year.

It is estimated that more than 70,000 children go missing in China every year, an average of 192 a day.

The most common cases occur in poor mountain areas where a family might sell a child for money or buy a son to carry on the family line, and in big cities where the children of migrant workers are usually targeted.

In a society that traditionally favours male heirs, it is often boys who are taken and who are then sold for adoption or to gangs of beggars.

Girls and women are also abducted and often used as labourers or as brides for unwed sons.

Without a real social safety net, many parents rely on the boy to look after them in their old age. The country's 30-year-old one-child policy has only served to enhance their value.

Boys sometimes sell for as much as $6,000, girls for as little as $500.

Child trafficking is seen as a growing problem in China, despite government attempts to crack down on it.

In October 2009, Chinese authorities created a website with photos of dozens of rescued kidnap victims, mostly infants, in an attempt to track down their families.

The government had set up a national DNA database in May 2009 to locate the families of rescued child victims but had trouble reuniting them without sufficient personal information, prompting the police to create the website.

But distraught parents claim the crimes often go unreported in local media, and that the government provides little assistance in the search for China's missing children.

On this edition of 101 East, we ask if more can be done to stop the black market trade of children in China.

This episode of 101 East airs from Thursday, January 28, 2010 at the following times GMT: Thursday: 1230; Friday: 0300, 1730; Saturday: 0330, 1730; Sunday: 0330, 1130; Monday: 1630; Tuesday: 0430; Wednesday: 0830; Thursday: 0630.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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