Police rescued 22 women and children abducted by a human-trafficking ring that operated in southern China for two decades, state media reported Thursday.
Eighteen victims were reunited with family members during an emotional ceremony Wednesday in Nanning city in southern Guangxi province, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
Guangxi police uncovered the ring during a three-month investigation and arrested seven people in coastal Fujian province on July 22, Xinhua said. One of the suspects confessed to police the group had operated since 1989, kidnapping women and children from cities in Guangxi to sell in Fujian.
Human trafficking is a serious problem in China, which has a thriving black market in girls and women who are sold as brides. Babies are also abducted or bought from poor families to sell to childless couples.
Newspaper photos and television images showed an emotional reunion, with weeping mothers hugging their children.
State broadcaster China Central Television showed one father crying as he sat next to his son, telling reporters: “It has been a few years. Every time I saw other people with their children on the streets I would think of him. I missed him so much.”