The police in Jiaxing, China, this week returned a 14-year-old girl to her parents who had reportedly been attempting to sell her for $40,000. The incident came to light when a family in search of assistance in another part of China came across the teenager living in a homeless shelter.
According to an agency social worker quoted by the People’s Daily Online, police discovered that one of the girl’s parents had allegedly sent her out of state to the homeless shelter to obtain documents necessary to sell her. The police immediately rescued the girl and were able to contact the parents who agreed to return her home.
In a nearby village, another girl was also rescued from the same shelter by the police who offered her transportation to their home district.
The agency’s social worker noted that sending the teenagers on the journey was likely not done deliberately. “There were probably no problems between the girls. If the parents did it to seek a solution for their daughter, maybe they didn’t intend to make such an affair public, but rather just wanted to clear a path for her out of a difficult living situation,” she said.
According to Cui Tianzhong, a legal expert at the University of Hong Kong, China’s compulsory family planning policy is likely to be to blame for such incidents. “It is natural that some family planning bureau officials will resort to force to impose [forced marriages] due to desperate situations,” Cui said. “But [the police] must be up against social conflicts around forced marriages, because forced marriages come under an entirely different kind of laws and are not covered by criminal control in China.”
In a statement released by the Jiaxing police, the officials have offered a stern warning to officials caught with forced marriages in their custody, saying they would face prosecution for their actions.
Read the full story at the People’s Daily Online.
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