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Asia-Pacific

China frees 89 children in trafficking crackdown

media China Photos/GettyImages

Chinese police have freed 89 children and arrested 369 people for child trafficking, they said Wednesday. The six-month crackdown was launched after online reports of widespread abductions sparked public outrage.

The operation targeted two "large criminal enterprises" involved which sold children for an average of about 40,000 yuan (4,300 euros) across 14 provinces, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement.

Abductions and human trafficking have become serious public concerns after a string of revelations, including a shocking 2007 scandal in which thousands were forced into slave labour in brickyards and mines across China.

Some Chinese academics have blamed the country's "one-child" policy, which is aimed at controlling growth in China's population, the world's largest at 1.3 billion, for contributing to child trafficking.

At the beginning of the year when Yu Jianrong, a rural development and activist, launched a microblog to help parents find missing children. It went viral as parents jumped at the chance of finding missing kids, prompting the government to issue a new crackdown pledge.

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