29 Nov 2009

Two executed for trafficking young children

7:32 am on 29 November 2009

Two men have been executed in China after being convicted of stealing and trafficking young children, most of them boys.

Hu Minghua, 55, and Su Binde, 27, had earlier been found guilty of kidnapping and selling 15 children, according to the Xinhua news agency.

It says only six of the children, most of them aged between three and six, have been returned to their families.

Last month the Chinese police said they had recovered more than 2,000 children in a six-month campaign against child trafficking.

Many of the children are snatched while playing on the street or waiting at bus and train stations. Their parents are often poor migrant workers unable to keep a constant watch over them.

In the latest case, it is unclear whom the children were being sold to. But the BBC's correspondent in Beijing says China's "one-child" policy - combined with a preference for sons - is partly responsible for the rise in child trafficking.

Some parents are prepared to buy a stolen child if they cannot have a boy of their own. Boys, who can be bought for about $6,000 each, are prized because they continue the family name and traditionally care for elderly parents.