China realized they had a major problem with child trafficking in the 1980s. The introduction of the one-child policy skyrocketed the supply of children sold on the street because their parents could not afford the fine of skipping family planning fees. Or simply because, in a society that gave absolute priority to men, the person born was a girl and her parents decided to get rid of her.
The agencies that trafficked babies, at first, went door to door buying children. When they couldn’t find them, they stole them directly. Then, They began to move through cyberspace, opening clandestine adoption groups within forums and many of the country’s most important social media platforms. By simply filtering the searches with words like “adopt”, some results already appeared.
A couple of years ago, Sixth Tone, a Shanghai newspaper, contacted several sellers who offered babies for 90,000 yuan, which is around 12,000 euros in exchange. “Our investigation revealed how China’s major Internet companies have become conduits for illicit adoption practices that put children at risk of abuse“, read the publication.
In QQ, a messaging application that belongs to Tencent, one of the Chinese technological titans, filtering the search with “birth certificate”, there are still some lists with agents who offer help to clients to obtain the necessary documents and legally become parents of a child. That is, they get birth certificates signed by doctors. This is part of a wide network that has been in the news in recent years for arrests of doctors and public officials. The latest plot was uncovered a few days ago.
In Hubei, a province in central China, the director of Xiangyang Hospital, Ye Youzhi, was arrested for selling falsified birth certificates and child vaccination records to baby trafficking agencies. The case was uncovered thanks to the complaint of an activist named Shangguan Zhengyi, who said that he had been undercover as a hospital worker for a year. Shangguan posted a series of records on social media linking Ye to these certificates, which were sold for around 13,000 euros each.