The global slavery market has taken a new foothold in China, with women being trafficked, sold, kidnapped and abused. Some of the more fortunate women are able to escape their captors, but others live a life as human property.
This is due in part to China’s One Child Policy. Though the restrictions have been relaxed in recent years, the gender gap is still prevalent. Women are both prized and subordinated with the current structure. Particularly in more rural areas, women and girls are looked to for brides for when sons grow up.
Though the government is combatting the gender gap by trying to outlaw sex-selective abortions and have a “Care for Girls” campaign, the consequences of the gap persist. With a long-rooted patriarchal society, changing centuries of culture will be difficult. In only a few decades, according to The Washington Times, around 25 million Chinese men will be without wives.
Since the gender ratio is unequal, many adult men are unable to find spouses. Young girls have been kidnapped by families who have sons and are raised in preparation for marriage. Though the One Child Policy was not conceived with this effect in mind, the gender gap has fostered a new market for human trafficking. There are stories of young girls being taken from their parents homes. The documentary “It’s a Girl” highlights the struggles of some families whose daughters were kidnapped and trafficked for such purposes in China.
Not all of the women trafficked, though, are native Chinese. Among some of the problems women from other countries face are the paperwork of bureaucracy. Because they entered China illegally, they don’t have the adequate documentation to get assistance from the embassies. Additionally, many of these women are unable to speak Chinese and getting help is even more difficult with the barrier.
Though the Chinese government is scurrying to find a solution, the problem of slavery in China is unlikely to be solved in the near future. With extensive borders with neighboring countries as well as unequal policing, China is a haven for modern slavery.
– Kristin Ronzi