Police increase efforts to rescue child beggars

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An online campaign to publish photos of child beggars is assisting authorities to crack down on gangs that kidnap children and to help reunite kidnapped children with their families.

The Ministry of Public Security said on Thursday that the public can dial 110, a police hotline, if they suspect children are being organized or forced to beg on the streets.

"Addressing child trafficking and organized begging by minors needs the joint efforts of all sectors of society," said Chen Shiqu, head of the anti-trafficking office under the ministry.

The public have played a positive role in providing clues, rescuing minors and offering social assistance, he added.

The ministry's move follows an online campaign, which was launched by netizens on micro blogs on Jan 25.

Yu Jianrong, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the initiator of the campaign, called on netizens to take snapshots of children they see begging in the street and of other children suspected of being abducted, and then post the photos on micro blogs in the hope that family members will see them.

By Thursday the campaign had succeeded in helping six abducted children be reunited with their families.

Chen said once police receive a report from the public they will rush to the scene and investigate the case. Minors whose blood relationship and identity cannot be determined, or those suspected of being abducted, will be taken by police.

Parents or relatives who use children for begging will be informed of relevant laws and could face punishment.

In addition, the police will take blood samples of minors whose identities are unclear and their DNA records will be included in the national anti-trafficking DNA database, according to Chen.

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