The Thriving Trade in Baby Girls Continues Unstopped in BEIJING
April 4, 2003 ·
28 little girls found by police on a bus enroute to rural areas in Beijing in an attempt to satisfy Chinese families seeking a daughter, a servant or a future bride for their son.
None older than three months, packed in nylon tote bags aboard a long distance bus, is a striking a tragic example of the trade in baby girls thriving in Beijing. One of the babies died after being found.
Despite police crackdowns on gangs that sell thousands of babies a year, the government’s own birth-control policies that limit most couples to one child are fuelling the demand.
Most buyers are families that have a boy and want a second child. Sometimes a girl might be kept to work around the house or the fields until she is a teenager, then sold to a family whose son needs a wife, said an official of the All-China Women’s Federation.
The baby girls might have been abducted, abandoned or sold by their parents. In most cases, the children’s parents are themselves the sellers which makes it difficult to trace the origins of the infants trafficked.
The scale of the trade is not clear, but China’s Justice Ministry says a three-month nationwide crackdown in 2000 resulted in the rescue of 10,000 babies.
Chinese society has never valued girls as highly as boys, who carry on the family name and look after elderly parents.
But the trade in babies has flourished amid looser social controls and tighter enforcement of ‘one-child’ rules meant to restrain the growth of China’s population of 1.3 billion people.
Parents are so intent on a boy that some abort female fetuses and kill or abandon baby girls.
That has led to a lopsided ratio of boys to girls that experts predict could, in coming decades, leave tens of millions of men without wives.
Though the government has said that it has banned abortion as a means of selecting a baby’s sex, the shortage has prompted some parents to acquire future brides for their sons as babies, said newspaper editor Song.
Infants were considered more appealing because they are less likely to run away, will look on the buyers as their own parents and are cheaper to buy than a teenage bride.
A baby girl can cost as little as a few hundred yuan and would not result in the fines imposed on couples who violate birth control limits.
Demand continues to fuel the trade of girl-trafficking and the government has done little so far to end this inhuman abuse of innocent children.
“[Asia Child Rights]” <email@example.com>