China has been a victim of high rates of human trafficking, with more than 236 million people being impacted by the prevalence of human trafficking. China has the largest population globally, which makes the problem of human trafficking of great magnitude (Shuai and Liu, 2020). However, there have been responses by the government and non-government organizations. Responding to human trafficking focuses on how cultural perceptions of victimhood and sexual exploitation inform interpretation, drafting and implementation of ant-traffic policies and guidelines that affect the trafficking victims.
The first action plan by the Chinese government to combat children and women trafficking was issued in 2007 and went to effect on 1st January 2008. The action plan was used to formalize the cooperation among agencies and establish a national reporting and information system. The overall goal was to eliminate and increase crackdown the trafficking victims. The plan focused on specific targets and outlined measures to prosecute traffickers trafficking, strengthening the global cooperation on trafficking and protecting victims (Zheng, 2018). The plan nominated the ministry of public security to lead the agency in executing the plan and called for organization of about eight agencies, including the ministry of labour and social security, the ministry of civil affairs, and all the women federations in China. According to the public security ministry, the plan was dedicated to offering long term and sustainable solutions to human trafficking.
The action plan has focused on building awareness and education among law enforcement personnel and the public. Education and awareness have aimed at improving the current system and legislation. The action plan also aimed to prevent trafficking linked crimes through education, alleviation, and vocational training tailored to individuals at risk, such as women. For instance, there has been increased awareness of legislation and laws linked to trafficking. The public security agencies have been encouraged to increase their efforts through anti-crime campaigns and banning marriage and employment arrangement websites. The action plan has also focused on strengthening rehabilitation and relief of rescued children and women through increasing aid, training and medical treatment, such as increasing the institutions for rehabilitation, transfer and relief of service.
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Additionally, China has passed several criminal laws that can protect women and children against human trafficking. The criminal code provisions on Articles 240, 241 and 244 have pointed to trafficking offences and give a chance to prosecute the offenders (Lin, 2019). Article 240 states that whoever traffics or abducts a child or a woman shall be sentenced to long term imprisonment of not less than five years and at the same time sentenced to a fine. There are various circumstances for which a person will be sentenced, such as being the ringleader of a group involved in human trafficking, trafficking in about three children or more, raping a trafficked and abducted person, forcing or enticing a child or woman who is abducted for kidnapping or trafficking the person or causing severe damage or injury or any other consequences to the child or woman who is abducted. Article 241 states that those buying trafficked and abducted children and women will be sentenced to three years or less or put under surveillance and criminal detention. Article 242 states that those using coercion and force to obstruct those employed by the state to rescue abducted and trafficked women can be punished and convicted for a long term fixed-term imprisonment, control or detention for more than three years.
Non-government Organizations Responses
Non-government organizations have done a lot in offering social assistance for women and children trafficked from three major aspects; rescue, empowerment and creation of opportunities. Most of the efforts and responses by the non-governmental responses include community economic development and awareness-raising to prevent trafficking. A substantial number of these non-governmental agencies have focused on assisting and supporting the victims and collaborating with the law enforcement agencies in investigating and prosecuting traffickers, and offering information and evidence that supports arrest and rescue operations such as sensitive oversight (Liu, 2017). Relatively, when working with the law enforcement agencies, the non-governmental agencies encourage the victims to cooperate with the law enforcers during the reflection period through offering awareness and education about their obligations and rights. Their relationships and contact with the trafficking victims have pushed victims to pass on relevant information about their exploitation to ensure that the victims have been brought to justice.
Social, Cultural, and Structural Factors
Responding to human trafficking has faced barriers linked to the causes of human trafficking in China. These include the economic, social and cultural factors that interplay and play a great role in human trafficking. For instance, poverty has contributed to human trafficking in China as people are exposed to extreme situations and disorganized social structures that lead to human trafficking. Labour human trafficking has been on the rise due to poverty-related reasons. Inequitable access to resources and the lack of viable sources of income have been the main barriers to an effective response to human trafficking in most disadvantaged community sections.
Considerably, human trafficking in China has been a profitable global business that is expanding due to various factors such as faulty legal systems, the one-child policy and adherence to the long-existing cultural traditions that have devalued women in china (Shen, 2016). Cultural perceptions of women as inferior have been ingrained in the Chinese culture. The feudal tradition in China has continued to subject women as subordinates of their husbands and father due to the patrilineal and patriarchal system.
Human trafficking in China has been a serious human rights violation. China has been considered a transit, source and destination for children and women trafficked for forced labour and exploitation. Responses to human trafficking in China are implemented by governmental and non-governmental organizations. The Chinese government has developed legislation and action plans to combat human trafficking. The non-governmental organizations have offered education, awareness and support to government agencies to reach victims and prohibit trafficking and abducting children and women. However, the responses have been influenced by social, structural and cultural factors such as corruption, poverty, lack of education, one-child policy implementation, among other social-economic problems.
Lin, R. J. (2019). From Tradition to Trafficking-Modern China’s Bold Fight against Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery in the Middle Kingdom. JL Poly & Globalization, 88, 86.
Liu, M. (2017). Migration, prostitution, and human trafficking: The voice of Chinese women. Routledge.
Shen, A. (2016). Female perpetrators in internal child trafficking in China: An empirical study. Journal of Human Trafficking, 2(1), 63-77.
Shuai, H., & Liu, J. (2020). Human trafficking in china. The Palgrave International Handbook of Human Trafficking, 1241-1253.
Zheng, T. (2018). Human trafficking in China. J His Arch & Anthropol Sci, 3(2), 171-178.