UCF Global Perspectives


China’s Gender Imbalance Fuels Sex Trafficking in Region

Erin Reedy, Francis Bok Human Trafficking Awareness Fellow

January 17, 2019

The growing gender imbalance in China’s population is fueling a sex trafficking scheme in the region, according to increased reports of kidnapped women and forced marriages (Economist). Decades of the One-Child Policy and a cultural preference for sons have caused the nation to suffer from a shortage of marrying-age women (Vice). Some Chinese men have taken to paying exorbitant prices to a Chinese bride’s family to secure a match. Another option involves men leaving China in search of partners, often in Eastern Europe. Others, without the means to participate in the previously-described schemes, have resorted to purchasing trafficked women from Southeast Asia to be their wives (Diplomat).

While some foreign women choose to become the wives of Chinese men for financial stability, most are given no choice when kidnapped along the border (Vice). The International Labour Organization has estimated that some 15 million people are living in forced marriages around the world. By 2020, 30-40 million Chinese men will fail to find wives in their home country, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. These trends foreshadow a continued growth in the sex trafficking business of the region unless those countries strengthen their anti-trafficking measures and cooperation tactics (Economist).





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