China's Child Trafficking Problem: Parents Sell Baby Online For Cash

 @mflorcruzm.florcruz@ibtimes.com on November 19 2013 12:42 PM
China child 2013
A mother pushes her daughter on a swing in Beijing April 3, 2013. Reuters

A young couple hailing from the southern coastal Fujian province in China was arrested on Saturday after attempting to sell their baby boy online in the most recent case in a spate of child trafficking incidents in the country.  

According to the local newspaper Southeast Express, the child’s father, going by the pseudonym of "Abin," posted an advertisement online offering up his 1-month-old son for 40,000 Yuan, roughly $6,568, and waited for a buyer. The post happened to catch the attention of a child trafficking volunteer named Zaizai, who engaged Abin in an online exchange, pretending to be interested in purchasing the newborn.

Abin designated a children’s hospital in the city of Fuzhou in Fujian province to make the exchange. Zaizai tipped off local police of the time and location, and authorities were able to intercept the child and his father. Upon being apprehended by authorities, Abin was reportedly unaware of his illegal actions. “I’m selling my own baby,” he allegedly said to authorities, according to the report. “Is that illegal?

According to police reports, Abin later disclosed that he was already a parent to three other children, and had a meager income of just two to three thousand Yuan a month and could not afford to care for another child.

“I had intended to put him up for adoption, but didn’t know how,” he lamented.

Just a month earlier, a different couple was also caught putting their unborn baby up online in exchange for cash. The couple, who were offering their newborn for a price tag of 50,000 Yuan, managed to successfully go through with the sale after the birth of their daughter. Upon receiving their payment, the couple reportedly went on an online shopping spree, which included purchases of an iPhone and other items like expensive sneakers. Similarly, the couple also testified in court that they were acting in the best interests of the child, adding that they did not have steady incomes and would have struggled to care for the baby girl. By auctioning her off, they hoped that the child would be given a more stable home and eventually get a good education. “We did not give the baby away for money but to give [the baby] more security,” the couple told the Telegraph.

Unfortunately, illegal child trafficking is not uncommon in China. Due to a variety of factors, like poverty, lack of information and resources, many parents resort to illegally selling their children online or through black market rings.

In August, police in the central coastal province of Jiangsu province broke up a criminal network of illegal child traffickers that extended across four Chinese provinces. According to a report by the China Daily, the group had illegally trafficked 10 boys in under 12 months, and made more than 500,000 Yuan over the past 16 months. The reports said that the babies from impoverished areas of China, like Yunnan and Sichuan, sold their children, while couples in more wealthy provinces like Fujian and Guangdong bought baby boys from traffickers.   

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