Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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Police: More Than 100 Vietnamese Brides Vanish in China


(Photo : Reuters) Chinese police are investigating the disappearance of more than 100 Vietnamese brides in the province of Hebei.

Police in China have launched an investigation to locate more than 100 Vietnamese women who have gone missing in China's northern province of Hebei.

The women had been brought to the country by a marriage matchmaker to be paired with men living in rural villages near Handan, reports BBC News. The matchmaker, a Vietnamese woman named Wu Meiyu who had been living in China for 20 years, has also vanished.

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Just before disappearing, the women reportedly told their husbands that they were going to have a meal with other Vietnamese brides. After that point, the women could no longer be reached. When the husbands when to Wu's home to find out what happened, they discovered that she too was missing and had left a few days earlier.

But there was at least one of the missing women who managed to make her way back home, Jinghua Daily reported. The woman said that she had "lost consciousness" after the meal and woke up in a small house far from her husband's village of Quzhou.

She reportedly told authorities that she was told that she would be going elsewhere to "find another husband." The woman left the house and returned to Quzhou to file a police report.

The practice of matchmakers importing women from other Southeast Asian countries to marry men in rural China is increasingly commonplace due to China's gender imbalance. The imbalance has been attributed to China's longstanding one-child policy, which left the country with a dearth of women.

Earlier this year, Wu traveled throughout Hebei seeking potential customers to match with brides. She reportedly promised the man a Vietnamese wife in exchange for 115,000 yuan ($18,600).

A Chinese official said that an "organized ring" may have been involved in the women's disappearance, reports China Daily.

Human trafficking by organized crime has been on the rise in China. Police busted multiple sex slave rings just last month alone, including one that abducted mentally disabled women and sold them as sex slaves for 10,000 to 20,000 yuan ($1,634 to $3,268).

Another gang was arrested for kidnapping 14 women and five children to sell as wives in rural China. The women, 11 of whom were from Myanmar, were lured with promises of free holidays or jobs. The women and children were then sold for 50,000 to 90,000 yuan (£8,141). 

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