(WORLD Magazine) — Thanks to a shortage of women created in part by China’s one-child policy, the country has become a hotbed of human trafficking. Desperate men pay exorbitant rates to marriage brokers who trick women into coming across the border and sell them like slaves.
Despite the country’s failure to crack down on the practice, the U.S. State Department last year moved China from Tier 3 status (where it can be sanctioned on non-trade and non-humanitarian aid) to Tier 2 watch list (countries that consistently fail to meet minimum standards, but make promises for future compliance) in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. This year’s report is due out this month.
More than 30 years since its inception, the unintended consequences of China’s one-child policy, coupled with its long-standing preference for male babies, have created a significant gender gap. The advent of sonograms allowed families who wanted a son to abort unwanted girls, a practice that became more frequent with the one-child policy. Experts now say China’s skewed sex ratio contributes to the trafficking of women and forced marriage.