Few rescued children returned home

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 December, 2009, 12:00am

China, for the first time, has released information on a group of 60 children rescued from abduction who are seeking their biological parents, but only four have returned home.

The Ministry of Public Security set up a page on October 28 on its website and released the information on the children with their pictures, names, ages, times of abduction, present locations and contacts.

On April 9, China launched a campaign to crack down on rampant child abduction and trafficking. A total of 2,169 children and youths have been rescued this year to October 28, and 1,358 traffickers were arrested, according to the ministry.

Though many children have been successfully rescued, most remained separated from their family. As they were abducted at young ages, they usually had no memory of their birth parents. That prompts a nationwide search for their biological parents.

Some abducted children have been forced to stay in police stations or were sent to orphanages, and others were sent back to the foster parents who paid the traffickers.

In May, central authorities established a national data bank in which DNA samples of the children and the parents who have lost their children could be collected and stored. Only after DNA matches are parents allowed to take the children home.

According to mainland media, traffickers targeted children of migrant workers living in suburban areas. Most of the workers were busy trying to earn their livelihoods and unfamiliar with the new environment. Furthermore, growing up in the countryside, they are used to letting their children play outside alone. But in the cities, that gives criminals chances.

Very few migrant parents have the online skills and the time to reach the DNA databank or the website, which only prolongs the separation.

There are no statistics regarding how many children were abducted every year, but experts estimated the figure between 30,000 and 60,000, according to earlier Xinhua reports.

Boys account for most of the abducted children, and critics blame China's one-child policy. Professionals take advantage of parents' yearning for boys to make a good business out of kidnapping them, they say.

Rescued but homeless

From April 29 to October 28, the number of children rescued in a nationwide crackdown on abductions is: 2,169


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