Chinese police have rescued 89 children and arrested 355 suspects after busting a series of child trafficking rings, officials said Monday.
Officers from nine regions, including Fujian, Yunnan, Sichuan, Anhui and Guangdong, took part in a joint drive beginning December 18 against the networks, said Chen Shiqu, director of the anti-trafficking office in the public security ministry.
The children are being cared for in local nursing homes and police are searching for their parents, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Trafficking of children is a serious problem in China, blamed in part on the strict “one-child” policy which has put a premium on baby boys.
Wang Xizhang, a high-level law enforcement official in Fujian province, said potentially large profits have fuelled the trade.
A healthy male infant bought for 30,000 yuan ($4,810) in poor provinces such as Yunnan can be sold for 70,000 to 90,000 yuan in the comparatively wealthy provinces of Fujian and Guangdong, Wang was quoted as saying.
Since April 2009, when a ministry crackdown began, police have broken up 11,000 child trafficking rings and rescued 54,000 children, according to Chen.