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China's Lost Children

Of the Thousands of Children Kidnapped in China, Many Are Adopted by Foreigners


BEIJING, May 12, 2008 —

More than a year ago, Liang Di went missing.

He was 3 years old at the time and shopping at an outdoor food market in Dongguan, China, with his father and 6-year old brother.

The two boys were playing outside while their father was in a hardware store. A man approached the two brothers on the street and offered them sweets. And then the man took little Di away.

His father, Liang Xiangrong, and brother did not see where they went. His parents went to the police but were told that they needed to find more clues before the authorities could do anything to help. The police never launched an investigation. And Liang Xiangrong said trying to solicit help from government officials is useless.

"We didn't tell the local officials what happened to our boy. Even if we told them, who would believe what a poor migrant worker said?" he told ABC News.

All they could do was talk to police and with other families in the area whose children had been kidnapped. The family has not heard anything about the possible whereabouts of their child. The last year has been agony.

"We think of him every day. When we close our eyes in bed at night, we think of him. When we see other people's children, we think of him. We really miss him," Liang said.

There has been a spate of child kidnappings in Dongguan, among other cities in the last few years, mostly targeting the children of poor migrant workers. Now, little Di is a statistic.

The 2007 U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons report says that domestic trafficking "remains the most significant problem in China." It estimates that there are up to 20,000 victims each year, but because this is an underground practice, it is virtually impossible to track. Some estimates put the number of children kidnapped or sold on the black market closer to 70,000. The Chinese government says the number is more like 10,000.

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