Chinese officials try to find parents of 60 lost children

October 29, 2009 / CNN.com

In some of the photos, the young children are wearing bibs and slight smiles can be seen on their chubby faces.

But these are not your normal baby pictures.

The Chinese government is trying to find the parents of these 60 homeless children, some of them so young that they had not yet developed the strength to hold their own heads up.

This week the Chinese Ministry of Public Security posted pictures of these rescued children on its Web site.

Many of them had similar stories. They were kidnapped, stolen or sold and somehow had been rescued by authorities.

Police tried to find their parents but could not find them through the national DNA database, state-run China Daily reported.

And for the first time, the Ministry of Public Security posted their pictures.

"Even if I can't find my boy's photo on the Web site today, it's a blessing for desperate parents like us who have nearly lost hope," Tang Weihua, a mother who lost her 5-year-old son in 1999, told China Daily this week.

About 30,000 to 60,000 children are reported missing every year, but it is hard to estimate how many are involved in child trafficking cases, the Ministry of Public Security told China Daily.

Police have rescued 2,000 children this year since China launch a nationwide anti-trafficking campaign, China Daily reported.

But after rescuing the children finding the parents can prove difficult. One issue is that in some cases the parents sold the children.

Earlier this week China's state media reported that police arrested dozens in an alleged child trafficking ring that sold at least 52 babies.

The traffickers bought 19 boys and 33 girls from impoverished rural families in Shanxi and Hebei provinces in the past two years, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

The ring started crumbling after three men were arrested with a baby boy in their van, Xinhua said. The three suspects said they had bought the baby from a woman and her daughter in Hebei, according to Xinhua.

The women had sold 12 other babies to the men, and were arrested, Xinhua said.

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An added note...

The BBC News had the following information to offer those who are interested in this same subject:

Criminal gangs steal the children and sell them to childless couples.

State media have reported a string of arrests in recent months, including 42 suspects picked up last week for allegedly selling 52 children in the north of China.

In China's patriarchal society, baby boys are especially prized, sometimes selling for as much as $6,000 (£3,670), says the BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Beijing.

Girls are sometimes sold for just $500 (£305), he says.

Children of poor farmers or migrant workers are often targeted. The parents of such children have complained in the past of official indifference to their plight.

Human trafficking is seen as a growing problem in China. Some families buy trafficked women or children to use as extra labour or household servants.

There have been several high-profile cases of abducted children being rescued from mines and brick kilns.

Increased wealth and freedom of movement in China have made human trafficking both more profitable and easier, analysts say.

Beijing has promised to do more. A national DNA database was set up this year to help trace missing children.

[From:  China rescues kidnapped children, October 28, 2009 ] 

A national DNA database sure could make things interesting... much like it did for some who chose to adopt from Guatemala.

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