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Police arrest 11 in raids on sites selling babies

2014-03-18 09:45 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Yao Lan

Shanghai police last month detained 11 people following raids on four child-trafficking websites.

The majority of those detained were the babies' birth parents and their "adoptive" families, police said. All of the detainees were later released on bail.

The websites claimed they could help people to adopt children, but in fact their operators were child traffickers who could also provide fake birth certificates, police said.

The only way members of the public can adopt a child in China is through the civil affairs authorities, police said.

Among the people arrested was 60-year-old Shen, who bought a 5-month-old boy from his birth mother last September to give to her son and daughter-in-law, who is infertile.

Shen paid the child's mother, 27-year-old Wei Haiyan, 50,000 yuan (US$8,104), said Li Wenjun, a police officer who took part in the investigation.

Wei said she wanted to have the baby "adopted" as he was the result of a one night stand.

After learning of Wei's predicament, a nurse put her in touch with Shen, who had earlier asked for help finding a baby for her daughter-in-law. A deal was reached and after the baby was born Shen took him home.

Shen's problems began when she realized the baby did not have any documents and could not be registered as a Shanghai citizen. His new father searched the Internet and found a website offering fake papers.

The payment of 3,500 yuan Shen's son made through Alipay for the papers later provided a key lead for police investigating the case. He was detained, along with his mother, the baby's mother and grandmother.

Shen said she didn't believe she had done anything wrong.

"I'm a retired kindergarten teacher in Baoshan and many of the children I taught were adopted in this way," she said.

Baoshan police said they detained six people linked to child trafficking last month. They did not provide details of the people detained in other districts.

"Under the law, infants under one year old who have been trafficked must be returned to their parents, while older ones are sent to an orphanage," a Baoshan police officer said.

"The problem is that the birth parents don't want the children, so they're likely to be put back up for sale."

As a result, police said the 14 babies found in their raids were returned to the families that bought them as they believed that to be the best thing for the children involved.

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