Trafficker admits to selling 3,000 labourers in three years

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2007, 12:00am

Human-trafficking is a lucrative trade in Henan province , according to an investigative report broadcast by state television last year, with as many as 3,000 labourers duped or abducted and sold to brick kilns and mines through just a single trafficker in the previous three years.

The report, which provided details of how a trafficker in Zhengzhou profited from the lucrative trade, showed trafficking had been widespread and common in the area for many years, with little government action to stop it.

The trafficker, identified as Zhou Jinghuan , traded the abducted workers, making about 170 yuan for each labourer.

She preferred people who were mentally retarded - as this made them easier to control. They accounted for about 30 per cent of her 'merchandise'.

Ms Zhou also said she liked mentally retarded people because they were 'obedient and happy when they were given wine to drink'.

And even if the workers did escape, they were easily caught near the train station because they had no money and lacked identification papers.

Workers who refused to go to kilns or other workplaces were severely beaten and escapees were forced to kneel on shattered glass.

In a sad anecdote, a mentally retarded worker who was sold to Ms Zhou showed a reporter his only possession - a cat he had 'bought' from his former 'employer' using the 1,000 yuan he had earned in the past year.

The report said Ms Zhou had been arrested but did not say if she had been charged.