State news agency Xinhua reported that 13 babies, mostly girls and ranging in age from only 10 days old to 4 years, were rescued in China’s eastern Hebei province in a raid on July 20.
More than 2,600 police officers from 14 Chinese provinces took part in the raid, resulting in the detention of 330 suspects, the Ministry of Public Security said on its website, The New York Times reports.
In another raid this month, Chinese authorities broke up a cross-border child trafficking gang in the southern provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi. Chinese media reported that 8 children, age 10 days to seven months, were rescued and 39 suspects, most from Vietnam, were arrested.
Most child trafficking cases involve buyers who are childless couples wanting children, or wanting them as slave labor on farms, the Associated Press reports.
It was not clear if sex abuse also might have been a motive, the AP said.
Liu Ancheng, a senior public security ministry official, blamed “the dreadful practice of buying and selling children in this country” on the importance in traditional Chinese society to bear male offspring, especially in rural areas.
“The cost of the crime of buying children is not great,” Liu told the People’s Daily.