Women taught to avoid people-traffickers

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"Yell, scream, find a crowd." That's the advice to rural women in southwest China's Guizhou Province if they ever face abduction by people-traffickers.

The province is holding classes in March to teach hundreds of rural women how to protect themselves from the region's increasing trafficking problem.

Human trafficking in China is a serious and long-term issue. The problem is particularly serious in rural areas. In Guizhou, women were abducted and sold as cheap or slave labor.

The courses teach women that, when abducted, they should:

-- try to find a crowd and call for help;

-- talk to the criminals and try to get information on locations and prospective buyers;

-- never forego a chance to call the police;

-- try to write notes to tell people of their situation.

And they should never give up hope of rescue or escape.

However, the classes did not include a self-defence course, as organizers feared that women who put up a physical fight could be injured or killed, said Wu Kunfeng, chairperson of the provincial Women's Federation.

"We've found that many women were abducted, while out looking for jobs. They were not educated and were vulnerable to criminals," said Wu.

"So we've realized that not only should we act to combat the increasing social problem, but also teach more people to better protect themselves," Wu said.

Greater efforts were needed in China to fight trafficking of women and children, as the crime "grossly violates human rights", said China's police chief Meng Jianzhu on March 1.

Meng urged local governments to address economic and social problems that could be at the root of rampant human trafficking, such as poverty and unemployment among women, inadequate education of children of migrant workers in cities, and illegal use of child laborers.

The Public Security Ministry launched a crackdown on child abduction and trafficking in April 2009. As of Oct. 12, more than 2,000 children had been rescued from more than 1,700 human trafficking cases.

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