The baby trafficking industry in China has been growing rapidly in the past few years, now encompassing children sent to the U.S. and Europe and trafficked internally. While some of the infants and children who are bought and sold on the black market are orphans, others are kidnapped, lured away, and even purchased from poor and desperate families. By taking babies from the poor and selling them to the rich, traffickers can make bank. But the Chinese police hope DNA can change that.
The national database China has developed contains DNA samples from over 100,000 missing, homeless, or trafficked children and over 35,000 parents. Their goal is to test all children against the database before being adopted. If the child has a relative in the database or has been reported missing at some point, the police will then have the chance to contact the child's biological family before the adoption goes through. These rules apply to foreign adoptions as well. So far, testing is only being applied to children being adopted, but may hopefully be available to all children in the future.
DNA matching has already allowed several families to reunite with their missing children. And if the policy of checking the database before every adoption is really implemented, it could be a hindrance to traffickers who kidnap children and sell them to adoption agencies. But for the strategy to be effective, China needs a quorum of parents reporting their missing children and willing and able to pay the fees associated with a DNA test. Plus, this plan only addresses child trafficking through legal adoption means — underground adoption operations could easily skirt the testing requirements.
Still hoping for change
4 weeks ago