Police in China have arrested 171 suspects and rescued 64 babies, after a crackdown across six provinces uncovered six baby-trafficking groups. An investigation is underway to track down the babies’ parents.
The operation revealed a new trend in the baby-selling trade whereby pregnant women stay near buyers until delivery.
Some expectant mothers would even stay in pig sties to avoid police patrols.
Zhang Qing, a 30-year-old villager in Henan, has a 4-year-old daughter, but was desperate for a son. Through agent Qin Yunxiu, she met with a heavily pregnant woman, and agreed to buy the baby if it was a boy.
Zhang paid $70,000 for a newborn boy a few days later. She left her daughter at her parents’ place while she took care of the baby, and named him Ming Ming.
But soon she found the seemingly healthy baby not responding normally. She thought he had the flu, but he was diagnosed with encephalopathy when she took him to hospital. However, Zhang did not give up on him, and paid for treatment.
All the babies found by police were sent to hospitals for check-ups and observation, including Ming Ming. They are being cared for at welfare houses awaiting adoption.
Police will target all three groups of people in the baby-selling trade: parents, buyers, and third parties making a profit from the transactions, like agents, caretakers, and medical personnel.