The internal migration of Chinese people seeking work has created an opportunity for human traffickers in China. Moreover the gender imbalance caused by the One Child Policy and the cultural preference for male children, has caused a shortage of women which has led to the trafficking of women to be sold as brides. As a result many women find themselves either deceived by promises of employment, sold or abducted and forced into marrying Chinese men who have paid for them. The prevalence of poverty in China makes the poor more vulnerable to enslavement. With the National Bureau of Statistics estimating that 70,170,000 are still living in poverty, people are more desperate and thus more likely to be receptive to fraudulent job offers.
Neng was just 14 when she was taken to China by her cousin who upon arrival forced her to marry a man 15 years her senior. Neng was able to escape and found her way to a shelter that seeks to support young girls who have survived human trafficking.
The first time I went to China. I went to Bac Ha market with my uncle’s daughter. They asked me if I wanted something to eat, I said yes. After eating, I fell unconscious and didn’t wake up until 7am the next morning. They said my cousin went back to Lao Cai already. They had found me a husband. I said that I didn’t want to marry him. Then they said “What would you prefer? To get married to him or to be a whore?” So I agreed to be the old man’s wife.
I was scared to death and cried all day long. This was the first time I had been away from my parents. My Chinese husband was a farmer. He was 29 years old. I didn’t like him because he was old.
Here I am [at the shelter] surrounded by people whose experiences are the same as mine. We love each other.
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