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Activists Blame China's One Child Policy for Rise in Child Bride Trafficking

Activists Blame China's One Child Policy for Rise in Child Bride Trafficking
Activists Blame China's One Child Policy for Rise in Child Bride Trafficking
Ira Mellman

According to testimony before a U.S. congressional committee Monday, China’s one child policy is leading to a huge rise in human trafficking.

Chai Ling, the founder of a U.S. based organization called All Girl’s Allowed told a U.S. House subcommittee that China’s one child policy and families' preferences for male over female children has lead to a population of 37 million more men than women.

Many of the families of these men, she said, look for wives. “Even with the child rearing costs, purchasing a child bride is the most economical way to guarantee the son will have a bride when he’s ready to marry. There are simply not enough daughters for all the sons in China," she said.

Ling told the committee that one Chinese province seems to be the center of this trafficking of child brides.

“Fujian province is a hotbed for trafficking. We found, after a month of research, a city with three million people that could have up to 600,000 people who are the result of child bride trafficking. These are very young girls who are trafficked and sold to men in the city as a result of these 37 million excess men who will not be able to find wives because these wives were eliminated under China’s one child policy and a preference for sons," she said.

Watch a related report by Elizabeth Lee:
Ling testified that the city to which she referred is Putien Village which she says is widely known as “Child Bride Village”. But, she says, the Chinese government has not addressed the problem. Ling said almost every family in Putien has seven or eight siblings. Of these, she said, at least a quarter has been trafficked.

Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, from the US State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, said China’s one child policy is indeed a major problem which even reaches beyond the borders of China

“This notion of the skewed sex ratio which, as you say, results from these policies, is having a destabilizing effect that we have noted and continue to discuss with the Chinese, especially as we see the importation of women from other countries or the trapping of those who would try to flee the regime in North Korea. It is a problem and it is something we need to continue to push on," he said.

Ambassador CdeBaca said the U.S. State Department has expressed its concern to the Chinese that there has been too little investigation of cases of such trafficking plus trafficking of prostitution and forced labor.

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