Fri, Jun 26, 2015 - Page 6 News List

Chinese couples who buy children to face prosecution

AFP, BEIJING

Couples who buy abducted children in China are to face criminal punishment under proposed laws that would remove their exemption from prosecution, reports said yesterday, as authorities clamp down on the flourishing child trafficking industry.

More than 13,000 children were rescued by police in China last year, the China Daily said, with demand for stolen youngsters fueled by a traditional preference for sons and a one-child limit for some couples.

Current law imposes harsh sentences for child trafficking, including the death penalty in certain cases. Buyers of kidnapped children can be sentenced to up to three years in jail, but are exempt from criminal proceedings if they have not abused the children or obstructed efforts to rescue them.

The revised criminal law is to “increase penalties for those who buy children,” the state-run newspaper said, without specifying potential sentences.

“Buyers would receive a less severe penalty if they did not abuse the child or attempt to hinder rescue efforts,” it added.

Child trafficking has become a huge problem in China, where this year, police have broken up several criminal gangs found keeping babies in disused mortuaries and factories where pregnant women were kept before selling their newborns.

Almost 13,000 people involved in human trafficking were punished between 2010 and last year, the China Daily said, citing the Supreme People’s Court.

More than half of those convicted received sentences ranging from five years in prison to death.

The law was submitted on Wednesday to the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress.

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