We’ve mentioned before on this blog the horrific human trafficking that is going on into China at least in part due to that country’s one child policy. That blogpost discussed the women being abducted from North Korea, but a recent piece by the AFP shows that it is not limited to that country. Instead, women in all of the countries that neighbour China are in danger of being whisked away to the Middle Kingdom and sold into sexual slavery.  As the AFP notes, it is all about the gender imbalance haunting China due to its horrific one-child policy:

“Vulnerable women in countries close to China — not only Vietnam but also North Korea, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar — are being forced into marriages in the land of the one-child policy, experts say.

China suffers from one of the worst gender imbalances in the world as families prefer male children.

As a result millions of men now cannot find Chinese brides — a key driver of trafficking, according to rights groups.”

One of the most despressing things about this story is that many of these poor women are tricked into slavery by those closest to them:

“The Lao Cai shelter [in Northern Vietnam] currently houses a dozen girls from various ethnic minority groups. All say they were tricked by relatives, friends or boyfriends and sold to Chinese men as brides.

As trafficking is run by illegal gangs and the communities involved are poor and remote, official data is patchy and likely underestimates the scale of the problem, experts say.

But rights workers across Southeast Asia say they are witnessing ‘systematic’ trafficking of women into China for forced marriages.

‘This problem has largely been swept under the rug by the Chinese authorities,’ said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at New York-based Human Rights Watch.”

It is not only that women are being given to the tender mercies of Chinese men wanting them as wives, others are sold to brothels, but due to the stigma of being a sex slave, many of these women usually report that they were forced into a marriage. The countries affected by this scourge are trying to help these women and to stamp out the trafficking.

“The [Vietnamese] government says it has launched education programmes in rural areas, near the border, warning young girls not to trust outsiders.

Long, the centre director, says he believes the number of cases is falling.

In neighbouring Cambodia, there have been some prosecutions, but An Sam Ath of rights group Licadho said the scourge is still happening, adding: ‘I am worried the problem will spread.’

Anti-trafficking groups in Vietnam say it is hard to warn girls of the risks when it is often a family member or friend carrying out the deception.

Instead, they say there should be harsher penalties for traffickers — including, for example, prosecutions at local level to raise awareness in villages of potential punishments to deter people from trying.”

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: the one-child policy is evil. It is evil in its intent. It is evil in its operation. It is evil in its results, both intended and unintended. Evil is always self-defeating. Let us hope that this particular evil will defeat itself soon before more women are caught up in its snare. 

Marcus Roberts was two years out of law school when he decided that practising law was no longer for him. He therefore went back to university and did his LLM while tutoring. He now teaches contract and...