One of China’s distinctive characteristics lies in the significant gender imbalance linked to the long-standing one-child policy. Many Chinese men, particularly in the most remote provinces, seek to marry foreign young women who they can buy with a few thousands yuans. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences estimates that by 2020 there will be around 30 to 40 million more Chinese men than Chinese women of marriageable age (ABC News, April 20, 2018). Thus, the past few years have brought to light significant cross-border trafficking which consists in bringing in foreign women, sometimes minors, to sell them to single men. The phenomenon of “bride trafficking,” traffic of young Vietnamese women from Lào Cai to the Chinese border (UNICEF Viet Nam, Lao Cai People’s Committee, 2016) or young Mongolian women to Yunnan or Beijing (ECPAT International, Defence for Children-ECPAT Netherlands, September 2015), recently revealed the methods used by traffickers on both sides of the border to attract their victims. Sold by their families or recruited by coercion or deception (false promises of employment or false love stories), women often find themselves in situations of domestic and/or sexual servitude and remain in China against their will. Confronted with criminal groups and corrupted public authorities, some associations attempt to locate, identify, and rescue these victims (South China Morning Post, July 2, 2017).

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