China: Child Trafficking Sweep Rescues 89

Police in China broke up nine child trafficking rings this week in a sting operation, rescuing 89 children and arresting 355 suspects, the Ministry of Public Security announced Monday. 

In the past two and a half years, some 54,000 children have been rescued from traffickers in China, according to government statistics. The children are usually boys, who are sold on the black market and then purchased by Chinese families seeking a male heir. 

Chinese media have reported regularly on break up of child-trafficking rings for at least ten years, but the overall numbers are an area of dispute. Security officials tend to report abductions in the range of 30,000 to 60,000, while non-governmental advocates claim the numbers are much greater, as high as 200,000 annually. 

Announcing the sweep on Monday, a senior police official said that current prices in the baby trade hover below $5,000 in China's interior, but that the trafficked children are resold for three times that much in the wealthier coastal provinces, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.