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Poverty drives cross-border trade

By Zhang Yan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-26 08:08

"I can't afford to marry a Chinese girl because I'm too poor, so I intended to buy a Vietnamese bride," said a 22-year-old from Henan province, surnamed Wang, who was arrested as he attempted to select a woman near the border between Yunnan province and Vietnam.

"My parents arranged a few blind dates for me. As betrothal gifts, one girl demanded a house and car costing more than 200,000 yuan ($30,000), but I couldn't afford them," he said.

After several failures, Wang's parents became concerned and arranged for marriage brokers to visit Yunnan to help their son find a less-expensive Vietnamese wife.

Wang's confession and careful investigation helped police uncover a major cross-border human trafficking ring.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, Vietnamese traffickers search for young women with low levels of education and poor social awareness, then illegally transport them across the border under the pretext of tourism or well-paid jobs.

After buying the victims, Chinese traffickers arrange accommodations and contact brokers to resell them at a profit in rural areas across seven provinces and regions, including Yunnan, Henan and Shandong.

According to Chen Jianfeng, director of the anti-human trafficking office at the ministry's Criminal Investigation Department, most of the buyers are residents of poverty-stricken areas who are too poor to marry Chinese women.

"The buyers secretly come to the border area in Yunnan to choose Vietnamese brides. All the deals are made via agents," he said.

In February, the ministry ordered public security departments in seven provinces and regions to take unified action. The police arrested 75 traffickers and rescued 34 Vietnamese women, smashing a major transnational human trafficking ring, according to the ministry.

The suspects were transferred to the local prosecuting department for questioning, and most of the women were repatriated to Vietnam.

Under China's Criminal Law, people convicted of knowingly buying abducted women face jail terms of less than three years.

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