A trip to the mall inevitably includes a chance encounter with an acquaintance – whether it be a friend of your mom’s, your old high school teacher, or a local celebrity, and the vast majority of the time these meetings are dreaded.
But for one Chinese father, a spontaneous trip to the mall reunited him with his six-year-old son, who’d been kidnapped nine months earlier.
Chen Zhonghong was left feeling utterly hopeless last year when his son, Cheng Jiafu, was abducted by strangers. Six-year-old Jiafu was taken from his home in Matang Village in China’s Guangdong province just two hours after his father had left for work.
For nine months Chen, wracked with guilt, searched for his son. He hoped they’d be reunited, but as the weeks blended into months, he began to believe he’d never see him again. Despite his hopeless searches, it was sheer chance that would eventually help Chen find his son.
Jiafu had been taken by child traffickers who hoped to make a profit from selling the tiny tot. In 2015, it was reported that 200,000 boys and girls were abducted and sold online in China – the majority of whom were sold into child labor, the sex trade, and organ farms.
Nine months after taking Jiafu, his abductors chose to take him to a shopping center called the Qingxin Town Plaza just 30 minutes away from the site where he’d been abducted. This decision would lead to their arrest when they coincidentally bumped into Jiafu’s father.
Spotting his son, Chen immediately called the police who were able to capture the three abductors as they attempted to flee. The three men tried to escape on a motorbike, but they were wrestled off of the getaway vehicle by the police.
All three men, who are known only by their surnames, Chen, Li and Ou, were then taken into custody where they later appeared in court in China, where they were all found guilty of child abduction.
You can watch the dramatic moment the abductors were caught below:
Mr. Ou was sentenced to six years in jail and ordered to pay $1,528.88 in fines. Meanwhile, Mr. Li was jailed for three years and Mr. Chen for two.
Trafficking is an epidemic in China, and countless women and children are sold to Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Most commonly, trafficked people are sold to Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan where they are sold for sex or forced labor.
Other reasons for trafficking include illegal adoption, forced marriage, and forced begging.
Those trafficked are often forced to work in brick kilns, coal mines, factories, and construction sites because their labor is extremely cheap.
But perhaps most horrifically, some people who are abducted are murdered for their organs.
To put the scale of the problem into context, so many organs are harvested in China that the waiting list for a liver transplant is just two weeks compared to two years in the United States.
Jiafu is pictured below being walked through the mall by one of his abductors.
However, in other provinces, there is a higher demand for females. The one-child policy saw a disproportionate number of men in society – boys were more desired than girls because they could pass on a family name. So women are trafficked for arranged marriages in these areas.
Aware of this issue, the Chinese government has implemented a number laws and regulations in an attempt prohibit human trafficking. Hopefully, with these laws in place, cases like this one will never occur again. Forced slavery should not exist in the modern world.
We wish Jiafu and his father all the best in recovering from their ordeal.