In December, 2009, police in Qianshan County, Anhui broke a human trafficking ring. AGA volunteers on the recent anti-trafficking campaign visited the Qianshan law enforcement agencies to study the sources of the human trafficking trade’s demand. We learned that the six girls who were rescued after the ring’s demise were originally sold into three towns of the county. On July 1, 2011, AGA volunteers visited these towns and surrounding villages, distributing flyers and educational material along the way.
At Zhongban elementary school, the teacher told that the number of his female students is decreasing alarmingly. Some forty fifth-grade male students have thirty some female classmates. But in first grade, there are twenty boys to ten girls. The number of children has decreased. The ratio between boys and girls however have become even more lopsided. The owner of a restaurant we visited told us that Birth Planning Bureau policy had been very strict in the area. One “illegal” over-quota birth would bring fines equivalent to 60% of its income yearly for five years. Some families that gave birth “illegally” in order to have boys could not hope to afford the fines and went into hiding. If illegal births were discovered, village officials and Birth Planning agents too had to pay fines. To avoid these fines, local officials often lie in their reports to higher authorities.
We reached the most remote of the three towns after a three hour drive on mountain roads. The local elementary school displayed large trafficking prevention posters, a result of the problem’s severity in the area. It was vacation time so the school was empty other than several employees playing mahjong in the office. Because of the big case a year and half ago, people avoided us when asked about any questions we asked.