Kidnapped female sex slaves rescued
By Cai Ke (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-05-16 08:44

Fifteen girls have been freed from lives as captive sex slaves in adult venues in Hubei province after a police rescue, reports Chutian Jinbao, a Hubei-based newspaper.

Around 120 officers were involved in releasing them.

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The recovery of the kidnapped girls follows another successful raid in the province recently in which police freed 36 girls. It is not clear whether the latest group of 15 includes under-aged girls.

Police are not talking about the girls' condition or saying much more at this time, saying the investigation is ongoing.

They are also refusing to say whether the release of the 15 was connected to the recent freeing of the other 36.

However, officers have recently disclosed details about the way the 36 kidnap victims had been treated.

Officers said they were lured into Wuhan hotels with promises of travel and jobs and gang members then used various means, including rapes and beatings, to coerce them into the sex trade.

They were then sold to Karaoke venues in Hongshan district for between 1,000 yuan ($145) and 2,000 yuan each, where they performed sex acts.

The Ministry of Public Security began a 9-month nationwide campaign on April 4 aimed at better protecting women and children from kidnapping.

The ministry said 2,000 to 3,000 women and children were sold across the country each year, although some experts said the figure could be much higher.

"It's very hard to offer a specific figure," said Jiang Feng, China coordinator of the UN Inter-Agency Project (UNIAP) on Human Trafficking in Greater Mekong Sub-region. "But from our observation, we don't see kidnapping cases dropping in China."