The police have broken up nine child trafficking rings, rescuing 89 children and arresting 355 suspects, the Ministry of Public Security announced Monday. According to the official Xinhua news service, the gangs abducted children in several provinces in the south and then sold them elsewhere in China. The raid was part of a nationwide crackdown on kidnappers, who often seize boys. Most of the stolen children are sold to families who want a male heir but face limitations imposed by China's strict family-planning policies. The Chinese government says that 10,000 children are kidnapped each year, but some experts suggest the number may be as high as 70,000.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.