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China says it freed 24,000 abducted children, women in 2011

China said it rescued more than 24,000 abducted children and women last year, some of them sold for adoption or forced into prostitution as far away as Angola.

The Ministry of Public Security said that another 77 children were saved in a bust on a cross-province human trafficking network last week.

In all, police rescued 8,660 abducted children and 15,458 women in busts of 3,195 human trafficking gangs during 2011, the ministry told the annual parliament, the National People’s Congress, according to the Irish Times.

According to Agence France-Presse, the trafficking of boy children is a particularly serious problem in China — blamed in part on the strict "one-child" policy. Couples unable to conceive a son, or male heir, can simply obtain one.

CNN, citing Global Times, a state-run newspaper, quoted Chen Qingwei, a police officer who helped crack down an infant trafficking case in Shandong, as saying that couples who sold their babies were mainly from poverty-stricken areas.

"A boy could fetch a price as high as 50,000 yuan ($7,905)," Chen reportedly said, "with the price for girls at about 30,000 yuan ($4,743). This is far more than what parents could make by farming the land."

Girls, meantime, were sold to foreign adoptive parents as "orphans," CNN reported, citing the Southern Metropolis News.

Vietnamese gangs were also smuggling children from Vietnam into China, the Times wrote.

The public security ministry said that they had cracked nearly 3,200 trafficking gangs last year, including a ring that sent Chinese women to Angola to work as prostitutes, AFP reported.

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"In November 2011, the public security ministry dispatched a police team to Angola... and detained 16 suspects and freed 19 Chinese women," it said, .

Girls and women also are abducted and used as laborers or as brides for unwed sons, the Irish Times reported.

According to the Times, the ministry also cited its work in helping reunite children with their families using new technology, such as a DNA database and a Weibo microblog account.

The ministry also vowed sterner crackdowns against trafficking, Xinhua News Agency reportedly wrote.

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