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Serving Affluent Businessmen and Visitors

September 1, 1999 · 


Published in Child Workers of Asia
(April – September 1999)

With regard to China, the phenomenon of trafficking is a growing concern. In a UNICEFbacked situation analysis of children and women in China in 1992, it was noted that “occasional abduction of womenandchildrenhasbeenreported to still occur in some rural areas, prompting widespread education against”the practice and special legislation with severe punishment of individuals who abduct or kidnap women or children.”

In China’s 1995 report under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the problem is implied by the recognition that in 1991 the government authorities made a decision “on the severe punishment of criminals abducting or kidnapping girls and children.”

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women added in her 1997 Report: “In China, the incidence of kidnapping and selling women in rural areas has been increasing since the mid- 1980s, so that, in some countries and villages, between 30-90% of marriages result from trafficking. Also in China, public security officials in Shandong province, report that 13,958 women were bought and sold in the province in 1990; of those, 3,966 women were freed and 1,690 individuals were arrested on charges of slave-trading. In Jiangsu province, between 1968 and 1988, 48,100 women from all regions of China were sold. The shortage of women in rural areas, traditional views on maintaining the family line which require all sons to marry and the high expenses associated with weddings and betrothal gifts of non-forced marriages all contribute to the demand for women trafficked for forced marriages in China”.

More strict law enforcement has resulted in some startling developments. In 1996, in recard to the prostitution trade, “209,600 cases have been cleared in which 411,700 offenders were pursued.”

In addition to the trafficking for marriage internally, the cross-border trafficking into other regions, such as Thailand, Myanmar and Macau for the sex trade and between China and Vietnam for the marriage and sex trade has become more insidious. As noted by a recent study: “Recent years even saw offenders in and outside China operate in collusion to traffic women abroad in the name of tourism and business. They trafficked girls from Yunnan borders in Thailand via Myanmar to local syndicates for prostitution. In 1995 and 1996 the Thai police and charity institutions repatriated up to a hundred girls back to China. In August 1997 the Shanghai and Macau police jointly cleared a case in which the offender trafficked and forced 6 girls to prostitute in a hotel in Macau. The victims were delivered safe and sound back home and the trafficking criminal suspects arrested.”

One should not forget also that Hong Kong is affected by various forms of trafficking, including exploitations and domestic service. This this is also a stepping stone for transcontinental trafficking.

Source: The trafficking in Women and Children in the Mekong Sun Region by Vitit Muntarbhorn

Estimates range from 200,000 to 500,000 children. It is believed there is an increasing number of young girls entering the local sex industryand lured to surrounding countries. Girls from the pastoral villages ofthe minority tribes in Yunnan province in south western China are being tricked by phoney offers of jobs and then being sold into prostitution in Thailand. According to the Chinese police, since 1989 about 5,000 Chinese girls have been lured across the nigged Burmese mountains that separate the two countries and sold asprostitutes. Themajorityofkidnapped girls are members of the Tai or Akha tribes who inhabit the border region. The Akha are also known as Hani in China. In 1994 the Peking People’s Daily reported that more than 10,000 women and children are abducted and sold each year in Sichuan alone. It went on to state that “more than one million prostitutes are serving affluent businessmen and visitors from Taiwan and Hong Kong”.

Source: ECPAT international


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