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Police free 25 kidnapped infants

RAILWAY police in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, have freed 25 kidnapped children sold, or destined to be sold, for profit, and detained 18 suspects since early April.

The children's ages ranged from 40 days to five years, said Zhao Jun, chief of Wuhan Railway Security Bureau publicity, yesterday.

The rescue efforts were part of a nationwide campaign launched on April 9 by the Ministry of Public Security to crack down on child trafficking.

Zhao said most of the children were kidnapped from southwest China's Yunnan Province and were transported by train via Hubei Province before being sold to families in rural areas in Hebei Province in the north.

In most cases, boys were preferred, but a change had taken place in recent years.

For example, Fan Yafang, a girl aged four, was the last child freed on Monday from Xidou Village in Mujing Township of Shexian County, Hebei Province.

She had been sold to Fan Hongbing for 8,300 yuan (US$1,220) four years ago. Fan's mother, Guo Liting, said she encouraged her son and daughter-in-law to buy a girl, hoping she could serve as a domestic helper when she grew up.

A medical examiner was taking blood samples from the little girl for DNA tests so she could be returned to her biological parents.


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