A court in southern China has upheld a death sentence against a Vietnamese convicted of selling more than 20 babies for money for years.
Huang Qingheng was found guilty of smuggling babies and young children to be sold in China. In some instances, pregnant women visited the neighboring country to sell their unborn children.
More than 20 members of the gang were given sentences ranging from 22 months to life imprisonment. It is not clear when the defendants were convicted.
Hoang Thi Nhat, a Vietnamese official in charge of children's affairs in Lang Son province, which borders China, confirmed the convictions in an interview with VOA's Vietnamese service.
"Once trafficked children are brought back to Vietnam, we would receive them and they would be taken care of by social shelters before they return to their relatives," he said.
Nhat added his province has launched an awareness campaign, aimed at residents who live near the border, on the danger of child trafficking.
The news of the convictions comes as Vietnam launches a crackdown on human trafficking rings which have taken advantage of the long, porous border with China.
The Vietnamese press recently reported that criminals mingled in hospitals to kidnap newborns, then put them on sale for up to $10,000.
According to statistics, nearly 1,000 Vietnamese are trafficked and sold abroad each year, mostly to China.
The 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report published by U.S. Department of State says Vietnam is “a major source country for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor within the country and abroad.”
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Vietnamese service.