U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - China

China (Tier 2 Watch List)

The Peoples' Republic of China is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. A significant number of Chinese women and children are trafficked internally for forced marriage and forced labor. Chinese women are at times lured abroad with false promises of legitimate employment and then trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation to destinations throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North America, while Chinese men have been trafficked for forced labor to Europe, South America, and the Middle East. A large number of Chinese men and women are smuggled abroad at enormous personal financial cost and, upon arrival in the destination country, are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation or other forms of exploitative labor to repay their debts. They often face exploitative conditions that meet the definition of involuntary servitude. Women from Burma, North Korea, Russia, Vietnam, and Mongolia are trafficked to China for labor and commercial sexual exploitation and forced marriage.

The Government of the People's Republic of China does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. China's placement on Tier 2 Watch List is due to its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking, specifically its inadequate protection for trafficking victims, particularly foreign women and P.R.C. women identified from Taiwan. There are reports of the involuntary return of North Koreans from China to North Korea, as these returnees often face serious abuses. The Chinese Government does not, as a matter of policy, fine identified trafficking victims, but it reportedly and unintentionally does fine some victims – particularly P.R.C. women and girls returning from Taiwan – who are among illegal migrants. China needs to identify these trafficking victims, and provide them with protection, rather than levying fines or other punishment on them. The government should also vigorously investigate allegations of coercive labor practices, including alleged situations of involuntary servitude and forced labor.


The Chinese Government continued its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts in 2004, actively arresting and prosecuting traffickers. China has a law that specifically outlaws the trafficking or kidnapping of women and coercion into prostitution. Penalties for trafficking carry sentences of up to ten years' imprisonment. "Snakeheads" or traffickers who smuggle victims overseas can be fined, have their property confiscated, be imprisoned for terms up to life, or be executed. China's criminal code imposes the death penalty for traffickers who coerce girls under 14 into prostitution. Over the past year, the police reportedly investigated 309 trafficking gangs and arrested 5,043 suspected traffickers, referring 3,144 for prosecution. While the Chinese Government did not provide statistics on the number of convictions, media reports indicated that 36 members of a child trafficking ring were given sentences ranging from two years' imprisonment to the death penalty. There do not appear to be adequate efforts to focus law enforcement resources on the problem of forced or coercive labor that meet the definition of involuntary servitude. Several police officials, including those that reportedly profited from trafficking, were convicted of commercial sexual exploitation and issuing visas to facilitate trafficking.


During the reporting period, the Chinese Government provided an inadequate level of protection for victims of trafficking. China does not fine repatriated trafficking victims once identified, and generally categorizes them separately from illegal migrants. However, there have been reports that police have levied fines for immigration violations on trafficking victims, particularly women and girls repatriated from Taiwan. The Chinese Government also did not take measures to protect foreign women who were trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and forced marriages with Chinese men. Over the past year, the Chinese Government funded programs operated by an NGO to reintegrate trafficked women into their local communities and relieve the stigma attached to trafficking victims. The Chinese Government reportedly allocated funds to provincial and local police departments to use in returning trafficking victims to their hometowns. Some government agencies also provided basic living necessities and return assistance. The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) continued to train police officers on how to handle trafficking-related crimes. The MPS reportedly eliminated special anti-trafficking police units and subsumed their duties into general law enforcement units but its national office for trafficking crimes remains in place.


The Chinese Government expanded its efforts to raise awareness of trafficking in 2004. The government cooperated with the Vietnamese Government and UNICEF on a mass communications effort to educate people and local government leaders on trafficking. Through its law enforcement agencies and its school systems, the government continued its awareness campaigns to warn of the potential dangers of trafficking. Posters, videos and pamphlets are distributed throughout the country.


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