Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - People's Republic of China

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 14 June 2004
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - People's Republic of China, 14 June 2004, available at: [accessed 28 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

People's Republic of China (Tier 2)

The Peoples' Republic of China is a source, transit, and destination country for persons trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. The domestic trafficking of women and children for marriage and forced labor is a significant problem. Chinese women are also trafficked to Australia, Burma, Canada, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Europe, and the United States for forced prostitution. Women from Malaysia, Burma, North Korea, Nepal, Russia, Vietnam, and Mongolia are trafficked to China for forced prostitution. Many Chinese are smuggled abroad at enormous personal cost and are forced into prostitution or other forms of exploitative labor to repay their debts.

The Government of the People's Republic of China does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. The Government has adopted laws to fight trafficking and is working with NGOs and international organizations to improve law enforcement training and victim support services. The government needs to closely examine its policy of returning North Korean migrants and refugees to ensure that trafficking victims are protected rather than subjected to the harsh treatment they receive on their return to North Korea.


China's 1992 Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women specifically outlaws trafficking or kidnapping of women. It also outlaws coercion into prostitution. The criminal code imposes the death penalty for traffickers who coerce girls under 14 into prostitution. In the period 2001-2003, the Chinese Government investigated 20,360 cases in which 43,215 women and children were rescued and 22,018 traffickers arrested. While the police reported a 27% decline in investigations in 2003, there were 3,999 suspects and 774 "snakeheads" (traffickers) punished for trafficking. In 2003, the Ministry for Public Security (MPS) and the Government of Thailand agreed on a framework for repatriating trafficking victims. The MPS is working on a similar agreement with Vietnam.


Most of China's trafficking is internal. While funding is limited, the government funds programs operated by an NGO to reintegrate trafficked women into their local communities and relieve the stigma attached to trafficking victims. The police has established a national DNA databank to match rescued children to their natural parents.


UNICEF is working with the National Working Committee on Women and Children to develop a national plan of action. The government has launched awareness campaigns to warn of the potential dangers of trafficking through its law enforcement agencies and its school systems. Posters, videos and pamphlets are distributed throughout the country.

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