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Female trafficking rising 'alarmingly'

FEMALE trafficking in Southeast Asian nations has been rising alarmingly, anthropologists said yesterday at an international forum in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province.

They called for regional cooperation to stamp out the problem and called on China to play a leading role.

Indian and Bangladeshi anthropologists shared their concerns about trafficking during a panel session at the 16th World Congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences.

It was the first time the conference, which ends on Friday, had been held in China.

Identifying poverty and the sex industry as the trigger, anthropologists said only through concerted action by all nations vulnerable to human trafficking could the nightmare be put to an end.

"Girl trafficking and sexual exploitation are a huge menace for Indian people. It's dangerous and we must stop it," said Vijay Prakash Sharma, of the United States Agency for International Development, India.

He said trafficking for prostitutes had spawned a vicious circle of sexual exploitation and facilitated the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

Sharma suggested setting up a databank for information on all victims of trafficking in Asia. "I also propose that China should take the lead, because it has advantages in information technology industry and talent resources."

Experts from Bangladesh said female trafficking was occurring internally and across the border to India, Pakistan, Malaysia and many Middle Eastern countries.

Jiang Quanbao, of Xi'an Jiaotong University, told Xinhua that he was worried about the same problems in China.

"Each case of female trafficking destroys a whole family. It has to be the concern of society and the international community," Jiang said.

China's Yunnan Province has long been targeted by cross-border trafficking groups as it borders Burma, Laos and Vietnam. For the past few years, police in the province have been working with neighboring countries to crack down on trafficking.

A researcher from Yunnan Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, Zhao Jie, said girls in rural areas whose parents left to work in cities were most at risk.


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