Officials from the United Nations Children's Fund say they are opening several new counseling centers in China for women and children rescued from traffickers. U.N. officials have been holding talks with Chinese provincial authorities in search of ways to stop the exploitation of women and children.
The head of the U.N. Children's Fund in Asia, Mehr Khan, said perhaps 300,000 women and children across the region have been removed from their homes and families by force or for money to be exploited for labor, sex or other purposes. U.N. statistics show that China alone accounts for at least 88,000 cases in recent years.
Ms. Khan has just completed talks on the trafficking problems with provincial officials in Sichuan and other parts of China. She praised Chinese authorities for being relatively open in dealing with the trafficking problem and consulting with regional experts in search of solutions.
UNICEF's Edwin Judd said his organization is opening two shelters for women and children rescued from traffickers in China. He said they will offer counseling, medical care and job training for victims. He said if the centers prove helpful to victims, U.N. Children's Fund plans to open more.
But Mr. Judd says the real solution is to change attitudes toward the rights of children and women. "Has to include also, opening up communities, who sometimes remain silent, even when they know there are trafficking problems, even when they know there are children and women in their midst who are trafficked," he said.
Mr. Judd said trafficking problems occur not only in China, but also in many societies that are undergoing major social and economic changes. He said China is vulnerable because it is trying to cope with huge economic changes, massive migration from rural to urban areas, and major political changes all at the same time.