Chinese Baby Traffickers Shift Focus to Girls

Date: 2005-08-04

Originial source: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2005-08/04/content_466331

August 4 2005

Low prices and strong demand have created a boom in the trafficking of baby girls in the mainland's hinterland provinces, according to police. Three babies are rescued from baby traffickers in Shandong Province on Feb. 2, 2005. In the past, most babies rescued from traffickers had been boys, but in some areas this year more than 80 per cent have been girls.

Zheng Jinchao, a railway police spokesman in Zhengzhou Henan province, said 43 of the 54 babies rescued in Xinxiang and Luoyang in the first half of the year were girls. It is the first time we have saved so many baby girls within such a short period. All the girls were between eight days and eight months old, and some even still had umbilical cord stumps.

In Xinxiang, police rescued 33 babies, 29 of them girls. Public notices have been circulated, urging the children's parents to take them back. But while the community response has been overwhelming, no relatives of the girls have come forward.

Some villagers, who live nearby, visited the centre and told me that they already had a boy and now hoped to adopt a girl to create an ideal family. But they cannot allow adoption yet. The first priority was to find the children's real parents.

The Civil Affairs Department had collected DNA samples from all the babies, but no parents had volunteered to be tested. While none of the new arrivals are handicapped, the orphanage is now facing the pressure of shortages of manpower and funds to look after more than 100 retarded and disabled children in its care.

It will be difficult for them to find the girls' natural parents, most of whom come from poor rural families in Sichuan Guangdong Going, Yunnan and Guizhou. Actually, the parents are deliberately abandoning or selling their girls because of the traditional discrimination against daughters.

It is very easy to deal in baby girls, as they are cheaper than the boys. A girl costs only 5,000 to 8,000 yuan, while a boy can cost between 15,000 and 20,000 yuan. In order to save tens of thousands of yuan on a betrothal gift for their son's wedding, some rural families were prepared to pay several thousand yuan to buy a girl as a child bride.

The Civil Affairs Department says adoptions are only allowed if the real parents do not claim their children within two years, but the situation was more flexible in Zhengzhou.

They will allow adoption when they close the file on the case. It might take just a few months because there were so many other cases that had to be handled. The Civil Affairs Department was planning to rewrite the adoption regulations, but this would take time.

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