DNA databank to help find missing children

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 May, 2009, 12:00am

Central authorities yesterday announced the establishment of a national DNA databank to help find missing children, a move long sought by parents and activists who say the government must do more to combat a rise in child trafficking.

The databank was launched by the Ministry of Public Security, which will collect and file the DNA information, the Beijing Times reported.

The DNA tests would be free to five groups - parents whose children have been confirmed kidnapped; parents whose children go missing; abducted children who have been rescued; children who are suspected of being trafficked, and homeless or beggar children who cannot give their address.

By the end of this month, 236 DNA labs across the mainland will be available to do tests.

The ministry said the DNA bank would be a powerful tool to track down abducted children and curb rampant child trafficking.

The ministry on Wednesday also issued a wanted list of 10 major suspects involved in the abduction of women and children.

On April 9, the ministry announced a national campaign against human trafficking of women and children.

The same day, Zhang Xinfeng , deputy minister of public security, admitted at a meeting that the mainland had recently seen an increase in the trafficking of women and children, despite police efforts over the years to tackle the problem.

Some parents said the database vindicated their efforts.

'The central government finally realises the serious situation of child trafficking,' said Sun Haiyang , a man whose son was kidnapped in Shenzhen .

In September, about 40 parents from Shenzhen, including Mr Sun, appealed to the central government in front of the 'Bird's Nest' National Stadium in Beijing, each carrying a large poster with a photograph of their missing child.

On April 15, more than 100 parents in Dongguan, Guangdong, took to the streets, protesting about the more than 1,000 children who have been abducted there since 2007.

About 3,000 abductions of children and women are recorded and investigated by the mainland authorities annually, but some experts estimate that 10,000 to 20,000 Chinese women and children fall into the hands of kidnappers each year.