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Zhang Shuxia, an obstetrician involved in baby trafficking, stands trial in Weinan Intermediate People's Court in Weinan, Shaanxi province, December 30, 2013. Zhang was accused of selling babies after cheating parents that their newborn babies had infectious diseases or congenital malformation, according to local media. REUTERS/China Daily (CHINA

Dozens Of Trafficked Babies Rescued In China

Sixty-four babies have been taken from criminal gangs who stole or abducted the infants in six provinces across the country.

Police in China say they have rescued 64 babies and arrested 171 people in recent weeks in a nationwide operation to break up baby-trafficking rings, according to Sky News. Their success follows an inquiry started late last year involving criminal gangs in six provinces across China.  The gangs were all involved in stealing or abducting babies, as well as finding pregnant women who were prepared to sell their newborns.

All those under arrest are suspected of either trafficking or buying the babies. Police say they have come across a “new criminal pattern” in which traffickers take pregnant women to specific places where they give birth.   They say they are stepping up efforts to stop it. At the same time, authorities say they are imposing stronger penalties for baby buyers and the parents who sell them.

A number of cases are still being investigated. In January, some 37 babies and a three-year-old girl were rescued from gangs in the eastern Shandong province. And in February, more than 1,000 people were arrested on suspicion of being involved in trafficking and running an adoption services website alleged to be a front.

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