Woman Jailed For Trading 11 Kids: Tracking China's Trafficking Crisis

In a heart-wrenching tale of human cruelty, a woman in 1990s China has been sentenced to death for trafficking 11 innocent children. This shocking revelation exposes the dark underbelly of child trafficking in China.

Oshi Saxena
Sep 19, 2023 16:26 IST
Yu Huaying is sentenced to death by a court in Guizhou province on Monday

Yu Huaying was sentenced to death by a court in Guizhou province on Monday (Credits - @shanghaidaily)

In a harrowing tale of depravity and cruelty that has shocked the nation, a woman has been condemned to death in southern China for the heart-wrenching crime of trafficking 11 innocent children.


This abominable saga dates back to the tumultuous 1990s, and the gruesome details have recently come to light, sending shockwaves through the nation. The verdict was disclosed on the official WeChat account of Guiyang Intermediate People's Court in Guizhou province on Monday, casting a sombre spotlight on the underbelly of human trafficking that continues to haunt society.

A Dark Chronicle Unearthed

The grim tale unfurled as it was revealed that Yu Huaying, in a quest for personal gains, engaged in the abduction and trafficking of children across southwestern China, spanning regions like Chongqing and Guizhou. Her sinister operations then extended to Handan City in northern Hebei province, where these hapless children were sold to buyers.


This dark chapter of her life played out between the years 1993 and 1996. Her partner in these heinous acts, identified only as Gong, has since met his fate. Two additional individuals who facilitated the child trafficking in Hebei are also slated to face separate court actions, marking a concerted effort by the judicial system to bring justice to these afflicted souls.

Reign of Terror

The perpetrator behind this heinous act, Yu Huaying, orchestrated a reign of terror that spanned the vast expanse of southwestern China, including Chongqing and Guizhou. Her sinister modus operandi involved abducting innocent children and transporting them to Handan City in northern Hebei province, where they were ruthlessly sold to buyers. This nightmarish ordeal unfolded over a three-year period, spanning from 1993 to 1996.


Colluding in her nefarious pursuits was her partner, known only by the surname Gong, who has since passed away. The horrifying truth emerged that two additional individuals had served as intermediaries in the ruthless trade of these innocent souls in Hebei. They, too, would face justice through separate court proceedings, a glimmer of hope for the victims and their families.

The Gravity of the Crime

Yu Huaying's sentence of death was not handed down lightly; it was born from a grave consideration of the unimaginable social harm inflicted and the unparalleled severity of the criminal circumstances. Instead of displaying remorse and confessing to her abhorrent deeds, Yu chose to appeal her case in court, displaying an utter lack of contrition.


Born in 1963, Yu's life began in the crucible of extreme poverty in southwestern Yunnan province. Her foray into the sordid world of human trafficking commenced with the sale of her own son, born in 1992 from an extramarital affair with Gong, both of whom were already wedded to other partners. The desperation of their situation led to the sale of their own flesh and blood in Hebei province for a mere 5,000 yuan, a stark testament to the depths of their moral decay.

A Dark Partnership

Gong and Yu's criminal partnership endured even as they encountered setbacks in their business ventures. Operating in tandem, they would establish residence in an area, meticulously acquaint themselves with the locals, and meticulously select their young victims. Yu would then employ devious tactics, often using enticing snacks to lure the unsuspecting children away from the watchful eyes of their families. The majority of their victims hailed from impoverished backgrounds, their parents struggling to make ends meet, often working tirelessly to provide for their families. This vulnerability made them easy prey for the unscrupulous pair.


A Trail of Crimes

Shockingly, this was not Yu's first brush with the law. Authorities had detained her twice in the 2000s for similar crimes related to child trafficking, underscoring the sinister persistence of her actions. It wasn't until one victim abducted in the 1990s, through a twist of fate, reunited with her biological sister, that a chain of events was set into motion leading to Yu's eventual apprehension.

Child Trafficking - A Lingering Menace


Child trafficking remains a dark and persistent scourge in China, haunting the collective conscience of society. Disturbingly, official statistics from China's National Bureau of Statistics reveal that from 2010 to 2019, a staggering 112,703 cases of trafficking in women and children were reported nationwide.

Recent high-profile cases, such as that of a mentally ill woman named Xiaohuamei, have further thrust this issue into the public discourse, exposing the horrifying realities of human trafficking in China.

Combating Human Trafficking: China's Challenges and Priorities


The 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report, released by the U.S. Department of State, presents a stark assessment of China's current standing in this regard, placing the People's Republic of China (PRC) in Tier 3, the lowest tier. The report highlights concerns about forced labour, particularly in Xinjiang, and extends to other regions involving ethnic Tibetans.

Chinese nationals themselves have reportedly suffered forced labour in various countries across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). While China's criminal code does criminalize some forms of trafficking, enforcement challenges persist. The report points out that comprehensive law enforcement data is lacking, and convictions often involve crimes outside the international definition of trafficking.

The sentence meted out to Yu Huaying serves as a stern reminder of the enduring struggle against child trafficking in China. It is a testament to the relentless pursuit of justice and the unwavering commitment to protecting the most vulnerable members of society. The shadow of this dark chapter in China's history looms large, but it is through the pursuit of justice and awareness that we can hope to cast light into even the darkest corners of our society.

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