89 children saved 355 suspects arrested – That is the result of the latest operation in China to crack down on child smugglers. Police in nine provinces including Fujian, Yunnan, Sichuan, Anhui and Guangdong took part in the swoop, which began on December 18 and was months in the preparation. The Public Security Ministry is hailing this as a major victory against the traffickers. “The goal of this operation is to rescue all the abducted children, seize all suspects involved, and smash the criminal network,” says the Director of the Criminal Division Liu Ancheng. Police are now taking DNA samples to help reunite families, thanks to a national DNA database that the ministry says has been put in place to fight against this trade. It is just the latest in a series of similar operations this year. Official statistics give an idea of the size of this illegal industry: since April 2009 and the crackdown 11,000 networks have been dismantled and 54,000 chilrden have been saved. Experts say China’s ‘One Child’ policy is behind the crimewave. Introduced in 1979 and limiting all couples to just one child, Beijing estimates it kept 400 million new births from being added to the population in three decades. But it has produced some nasty side effects. “Next, we will cooperate with relevant departments to adopt measures in strengthening the penalty for those who buy abducted children, so as to decrease the demand which may lead to child trafficking,” says the Director of the Anti-Trafficking Office Chen Shiqu. It is just another strain being placed on the Chinese family, which is struggling to cope with the pace of change in China. It is also a strain on the authorities, as the trade in children is growing again. As always, the market finds a way to satisfy demand, and there are no signs of change in official birthrate policies.