China and Australia are sharing efforts to train Chinese policemen and women social workers to help in the fight against trafficking in women and children in China.
A workshop held during April 24-26 in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province, has paved the way for a soon-to-be-launched Sino-Australian anti-trafficking program.
The Sino-Australian Training Workshop on Anti-trafficking in Women and Children was jointly organized by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission of Australia (HREOCA) and the All-China Women's Federation.
Most of the participants were policemen and women's federation staff from southwest China's Sichuan and Guizhou Provinces, already strongly committed to curbing the illegal trade.
Crimes of abduction and trafficking in women and children have risen sharply worldwide, and Australia has become a destination for traffickers to sell their victims, said Alice Tay, chairwoman of the HREOCA.
The participants were briefed on the current global situation regarding trafficking in women and children, women's rights and sexual discrimination against women, which offered a practical way for both countries to cooperate in this area.
"We regard this anti-trafficking program as part of the Sino-Australian Human Rights Technical Cooperation (HRTC)," said Hanmish Redd, a senior administrative assistant of the HREOCA.
The abduction and sale of women and children has become an international issue, experts say. According to statistics, as many as two million women and children are abducted and sold in the world each year, with transactions topping 17 billion U.S. dollars.
Trafficking in women and children has also aroused widespread concern in Australia, said Sally Moyle, a senior consultant working against sexual discrimination.
Many abducted women had been forced into prostitution, some making a career of it, which seriously violated their human rights, said Sally, adding that Australia is keen on cooperation with China in protecting women's security and legal rights and interests.
Zhu Yantao, an official with the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, said trafficking in women and children had grown rapidly in China over the past five years, spreading from southwestern provinces to almost every provinces.
And China has become the destination for criminals to sell women and children abducted from the neighboring countries of Vietnam, Thailand and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which has complicated China's anti-trafficking efforts, said Zhu.
Yu Peixuan, vice-chairwoman of the Women's Federation of Guizhou Province, said cases of trafficking in women and children were frequently reported in west China.
The crackdown on trafficking has had a marked effect in recent years in the region, Yu said, adding that Guizhou police rescued a total of 577 women and 260 children from 1999 to 2001.
China has established a series of statutes and public policies to protect women and children's rights and interests, including laws on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Women, and Protection of Minors.
Meanwhile, China has joined in a variety of international conventions advocating women and children's rights and interests, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission of Australia (HREOCA) and All-China Women's Federation have built a sound basis for cooperation.
The two sides organized a training workshop on advocating women and children's legal rights and interests in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, in February 2000, and held a seminar concerning family violence in ethnic minority areas in May 2001 in Xining, capital of northwest China's Qinghai Province.
(Xinhua News Agency May 3, 2002)