CHINESE police have smashed a human trafficking ring involving poor migrant couples who were selling their babies.
Police in Shandong province's Zoucheng city found that 17 infants had been sold in the city to Chinese buyers. They rescued 13 of the babies and sent them to welfare centres, and a search is under way for the other four, according to reports.
The couples were mainly migrants who had moved from poor areas in southwest China to Zoucheng to seek work.
Baby boys could be sold for up to 50,000 yuan (€5,600), while the price for girls was 30,000 yuan (€3,000), much more than the parents could earn from farming.
There is a thriving black market in children in China - mostly involving buyers who either want more children or want them as slave labour.
It endures despite harsh penalties for traffickers. The country's one-child policy limits most urban couples to one child and rural families to two.