AP Report: 629 Pakistani Girls Trafficked to China as Brides
As many as 629 women and girls from Pakistan were sold as brides and taken to China, according to a list obtained by The Associated Press.
The list was compiled by Pakistani investigators trying to break up the trafficking scheme that has been ongoing since 2018, the news agency said in an exclusive report on Wednesday.
All of those on the list were sold to Chinese men. It is not known how many more women and girls were trafficked since the list was first put together in June.
The Pakistani investigation has largely halted. Officials told The AP that’s because of pressure from officials who are concerned about damaging the country’s financial ties to Beijing.
China’s Foreign Ministry told The AP it was unaware of the list.
The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan’s capital city Islamabad flatly denied the allegations in AP’s report. "We have noted the above-mentioned media report. It is the same old stuff and not true,” according to a statement posted on its website.
One of the most notable cases in Pakistan against traffickers fell apart in October after a court acquitted 31 Chinese nationals after women refused to testify because they were threatened or bribed, sources told The AP.
The AP, citing senior officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, reported investigations have slowed and Pakistani media have been pushed to pull back on their reporting of trafficking.
“No one is doing anything to help these girls,” one of the officials told The AP. “The whole racket is continuing, and it is growing. Why? Because they know they can get away with it. The authorities won’t follow through, everyone is being pressured to not investigate. Trafficking is increasing now.”
Investigators compiled the list of women and girls using “Pakistan’s integrated border management system,” which collects digital travel documents from the country’s airports.
The latest target of brokers are Pakistan’s poor Christian minority, who pay the families up to a few thousands to buy their daughters and then sell them as brides to Chinese men, according to an AP investigation from earlier this year.
Officials told AP they believe all the women and girls were sold by their families.
The need for brides in China is reportedly connected to its one child policy that ended in 2015, which resulted in a population where there are 34 million more men than women.