US State Department Acknowledges China's Sex-Trade Fueled by One-Child Policy

Steven Mosher
by Anne Roback Morse
Population Research Institute
Weekly Briefing
24 June 2013
Reproduced with Permission

Last week, the United States State Department released its yearly Trafficking in Persons Report. The State Department ranks countries based upon their compliance with the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA). China received an automatic downgrade to the lowest ranking - Tier 3 - for being a destination country for sex-trafficking.

In the country narrative for China, the US State Department acknowledged that the one-child policy is the "key source of demand" for sex-trafficking and forced prostitution within China, but said nothing regarding the abolition of the policy in their list of recommendations.

The Making of the Disaster

China has been degenerating into a destination country for sex-trafficking since the institution of their one-child policy 33 years ago. When China instituted their infamous one-child policy in 1979, they forced all couples in China to choose between bearing a son or a bearing daughter. Forced to choose, Chinese couples chose sons.

Daughters have been killed through sex-selective abortion, infanticide, and neglect for the past 33 years. Now, there are 37,000,000 more males than females in China; that's the size of the female population of California, Texas, and Pennsylvania combined.

Imagine if all the women disappeared from California, Texas, and Pennsylvania. The men from those states would travel to meet women. Some would travel to meet their soul mates, some would get in fights with the men of other states, but many would visit other states "to have a good time." If all the women in California disappeared, the burlesque clubs of nearby Las Vegas in Nevada would explode - and so would crimes against women.

China's one-child policy eradicated 37,000,000 females in 33 years. Predictably, the demand for prostitution and sex-trafficking has exploded within China.

As the years of skewed sex-ratios continue, females grow more and more scarce in China, and crime syndicates are looking farther and younger for women. There are more and more underage girls being dragged into the sex trade. Girls from the rural areas of China are also at high risk for being transported to the cities. Chinese crime syndicates are bringing in more and more women from neighboring countries to fill their gap of 37 million females. They kidnap, buy, and trick women from Russia, Europe, Africa and the Americas as well.

Silence Surrounding the One-Child Policy

To the US State Department's credit, they called out China on its sex-trafficking and the one child policy as the "key source of demand." In human rights work, exposing and acknowledging the abuse is half the battle. Unfortunately, the US State Department left the battle halfway.

In their recommendations for China, the US remained silent about the one-child policy.

Their recommendations for China currently include:

Ceasing to repatriate North Korean escapees (North Koreans are currently deported back to North Korea if found in China, thereby leaving them vulnerable to exploitation within China).

Ending the "re-education through labor" system which currently uses over 300 forced labor sites in China.

... But nothing regarding the abolition of the one-child policy.

There is still cause for hope.

Because China is now a Tier 3 country, US President Barack Obama, has the power to invoke sanctions. Such sanctions would take place at the beginning of the next fiscal year: October 1st, 2013.

Now is the time for action.

Those who call for the end of the one-child policy must use this time between now and October to bring the discussion of the one-child policy to the political foreground. We must remind President Obama of his Nobel Peace Prize, his lip-service to human dignity, and demand that he follow through with the liberation of generations of women in China. We must encourage Obama to invoke sanctions against China.

We must remind our elected representatives that regardless of political party, human rights are our first priority. We must remind our elected representatives that we cannot continue to fund the United Nations Population Fund while they continue to send money to China to fund "population dynamics programs."

In the State Department's own words, "Leaders in civil society - from teachers to parents to ministers - must foster the belief that it is everyone's responsibility to do their part to reduce the demand for commercial sex."

Repealing the one-child policy will not heal the wounds already inflicted upon China, nor restore the innocence of the trafficked girls, but revoking the policy will stop the spread of the demographic disease which currently ravages China and its neighbors.