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China rescues 382 babies, detains 1,094 people after busting Web-based baby trafficking rings

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FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2010 file photo, a woman holds a candle behind a board showing photos of missing children during a campaign to spread the information to search for them in Wuhan, in central China's Hubei province. Chinese police have rescued 382 abducted babies and arrested 1,094 suspects in a national operation that busted four major Internet-based, baby-trafficking rings, the Public Security Ministry said Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. (AP Photo, File) CHINA OUT

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FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2010 file photo, a woman holds a candle behind a board showing photos of missing children during a campaign to spread the information to search for them in Wuhan, in central China's Hubei province. Chinese police have rescued 382 abducted babies and arrested 1,094 suspects in a national operation that busted four major Internet-based, baby-trafficking rings, the Public Security Ministry said Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. (AP Photo, File) CHINA OUT

BEIJING, China - Chinese police have rescued 382 abducted babies and arrested 1,094 suspects in a national operation that busted four major Internet-based baby trafficking rings, the Public Security Ministry said Friday.

The operation came after police in Beijing and the eastern province of Jiangsu last year found four websites selling babies under the cover of adoption, the ministry said, adding that Internet technologies have assisted baby traffickers by providing more secretive covers for their businesses.

Child abduction is a major problem in China despite punishments as harsh as the death sentence for traffickers, and national-level busts of trafficking rings have been frequent in recent years.

Strict laws that limit many families to one child, a traditional preference for boys, poverty and illicit profits drive a thriving market in babies and children.

To address the problem, China is considering tougher penalties for parents who sell their children, as well as for the buyers.

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