Law Library Stacks

Back to Training Related to Combating Human Trafficking

Summary

Article 240 of China’s Criminal Law prohibits abducting and trafficking women or children and provides harsher punishments if forced prostitution is involved.  The Criminal Law also prohibits buying abducted women or children, forced labor, forced prostitution, and luring girls under fourteen into prostitution.

The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) is primarily responsible for combating crimes of trafficking.  Led by the MPS, the Inter-Ministerial Joint Conference for Anti-Trafficking in Women and Children is tasked with overall anti-human-trafficking activities.  It has a number of central government departments and agencies as its member units, including the Central Office for Comprehensive Management of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice.

The national anti-trafficking action plan requires training programs on anti-trafficking laws, regulations, and policies to be provided to anti-trafficking personnel at various levels nationwide, in order to enhance their abilities with regard to anti-trafficking law enforcement.  References have also been found to various training programs related to COMMIT, an anti-trafficking initiative involving Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

I. Legal Framework on Human Trafficking

The Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China prohibits many trafficking activities, including abducting and trafficking women or children, buying abducted women or children, forced labor, forced prostitution, and luring girls under fourteen into prostitution.[1]  The Criminal Law was recently amended on August 29, 2015, effective November 1, 2015, to revise some of the Law’s trafficking provisions.[2]

A.  Abducting and Trafficking Women or Children

Article 240 of the Criminal Law prohibits abducting and trafficking women or children, which is punishable by five to ten years’ imprisonment and a fine.

Under prescribed conditions, including forced prostitution, the penalties are much harsher: no less than ten years’ or life imprisonment and a fine or confiscation of property, and if the circumstances are particularly serious, the death penalty and confiscation of property.[3]  Such conditions prescribed by article 240 are as follows:

(1) being a ringleader of a gang engaged in abducting and trafficking in women and children;

(2) abducting and trafficking in three or more women and/or children;

(3) raping the woman who is abducted and trafficked;

(4) enticing or forcing the woman who is abducted and trafficked to engage in prostitution, or selling such woman to any other person who would force her to engage in prostitution;

(5) kidnapping a woman or child by means of violence, coercion, or anesthesia for the purpose of selling the victim;

(6) stealing a baby or an infant for the purpose of selling the victim;

(7) causing serious injury or death to the woman or child who is abducted and trafficked or to her or his relatives or any other serious consequences; or

(8) selling a woman or a child out of the territory of China.[4]

Prohibiting the abduction and trafficking of women or children, article 240 does not apply to the trafficking of men.

B.  Buying Abducted Women or Children

According to article 241 of the Criminal Law, buying an abducted woman or child subjects the buyer to no more than three years’ imprisonment, criminal detention, or public surveillance.[5] 

Under the Criminal Law as it existed before the Ninth Amendment, the buyer of an abducted woman or child might be exempt from criminal punishment if the buyer did not obstruct the woman from returning home of her own will, or maltreat the child or obstruct the child’s rescue.[6]  The Ninth Amendment abolished this exemption, providing that such a buyer is criminally punishable but may receive a lighter sentence.[7]

C.  Forced Labor

Article 244 of the Criminal Law prohibits forced labor, which is punishable by no more than three years’ imprisonment or criminal detention and a fine.  When the circumstances are serious, it is punishable by three to ten years’ imprisonment and a fine.  The provision also applies to those who facilitate recruiting or transport, or assist by other means in forced labor.[8]

D.  Organizing Prostitution or Forced Prostitution

According to paragraph 1 of article 358 as newly revised by the Ninth Amendment, organizing prostitution or forced prostitution is punishable by five to ten years’ imprisonment and a fine.  Under serious circumstances, the punishment is no less than ten years’ or life imprisonment and a fine or confiscation of property.[9]  A heavier penalty within the scope of paragraph 1 will be imposed on those organizing or forcing minors to engage in prostitution, according to the new paragraph 2 of the article.[10] 

E.  Luring Others into Prostitution

Article 359 prohibits luring others into prostitution.  In particular, paragraph 2 of the article provides that luring girls under the age of fourteen into prostitution is subject to over five years’ imprisonment and a fine.[11]

Back to Top

II. Roles and Responsibilities of Government Agencies in Enforcing Laws Against Human Trafficking

A.  Inter-Ministerial Joint Conference for Anti-Trafficking in Women and Children

The Inter-Ministerial Joint Conference for Anti-Trafficking in Women and Children (Joint Conference) is tasked with drafting the national action plan, coordinating relevant government departments, and directing provinces in carrying out anti-trafficking activities in China, as well as coordinating and promoting international anti-trafficking cooperation.[12]

The Joint Conference is led by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and has a number of central government departments and agencies as its member units, including the Central Office for Comprehensive Management of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).[13]
The office of the Joint Conference is located in the Criminal Investigation Bureau of the MPS, and the Director-General of the Bureau is in charge of the office.[14]

B.  Ministry of Public Security

The MPS is primarily responsible for combating trafficking crimes in China.  The Supreme People’s Court (SPC), the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP), the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF), and several other central government departments and agencies are required to support the MPS in this regard. [15]

Back to Top

III. Training Programs for Law Enforcement

A.  National Anti-Trafficking Workshops

According to the 2013–2020 China National Plan of Action on Combating Trafficking in Women and Children (2013–2020 National Action Plan), training programs are to be provided to anti-trafficking personnel nationwide.  Specifically:

  • The MPS, SPP, and the SPC are responsible for providing training programs on anti-trafficking laws, regulations, and policies to anti-trafficking personnel at various levels, in order to enhance their ability with regard to anti-trafficking investigation, prosecution, and adjudication. 
  • The MPS, SPC, SPP, and MOJ are responsible for providing training programs to law-enforcement personnel on the country’s borders, in order to enhance their awareness and ability in preventing and combating cross-border trafficking in persons.[16]

In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the MPS, the Ministry of Commerce, and the ACWF are tasked by the 2013–2020 National Action Plan to coordinate with international organizations and foreign countries in providing joint anti-trafficking training programs.[17]

National anti-trafficking workshops have reportedly been held in various places in China, including the following:

  • August 2007, in Lijiang, Yunan Province[18]
  • August 2009, in Huangshan, Anhui Province[19]
  • July 2010, in Hulunbei’er, Inter Mongolia[20]
  • March 2012, in Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province[21]

B.  COMMIT Training Workshops

The Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative Against Trafficking (COMMIT) has had their training workshops financially supported by the Chinese government, according to the Annual Progress Report of the United Nations Action for Cooperation Against Trafficking in Persons 2014.[22]  Through the COMMIT, the six governments of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam) are committed to a response to human trafficking, highlighting the need for multilateral, bilateral, and government-NGO cooperation to fight human trafficking.[23]

References have been found to various training programs related to the COMMIT:

  • Around 2004, the public security organs of China and Vietnam jointly held training programs for personnel of the two countries’ law-enforcement agencies and women’s protection organizations.[24] 
  • In June 2007, the COMMIT China working group developed an anti-trafficking training brochure.[25]

Back to Top

Prepared by Laney Zhang
Senior Foreign Law Specialist
February 2016


[1] Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Xingfa [Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)] (Criminal Law) (adopted by the National People’s Congress (NPC), Mar. 14, 1997, effective Oct. 1, 1997, as last amended Feb. 25, 2011), Xinbian Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Changyong Falü Fagui Quanshu 6-1 (2014), English translation available at Westlawchina.com (by subscription). 

[2] Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Xingfa Xiuzheng An (Jiu) [Ninth Amendment to the Criminal Law of the People’ Republic of China] (Ninth Amendment) (adopted by the NPC Standing Committee, Aug. 29, 2015, effective Nov. 1, 2015), 9 Xin Fagui Huibian 1 (2015), English translation available at Westlawchina.com (by subscription).

[3] Criminal Law art. 240.

[4] Id. art. 240.

[5] Id. art. 241.

[6] Id.

[7] Ninth Amendment art. 241.

[8] Criminal Law art. 244.

[9] Ninth Amendment art. 358.

[10] Id.

[11] Id. art. 359.

[12] Zhongguo Fandui Guaimai Funü Ertong Xingdong Jihua (2008–2012) [China National Plan of Action on Combating Trafficking in Women and Children (2008–2012) ] (2008–2012 National Action Plan), Central People’s Government, http://www.gov.cn/zwgk/2007-12/20/content_839479.htm, archived at https://perma.cc/L8TV-NPXV, English translation at http://www.humantrafficking.org/uploads/publications/China_ National_Plan_of_Action_on_Combating_Trafficking_in_Women_and_Children_December_2007.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/UQ89-5PBJ.

[13] Id.

[14] Id.

[15] Zhongguo Fandui Guaimai Renkou Xingdong Jihua (2013–2020) [China National Plan of Action on Combating Trafficking in Persons (2013–2020)] (2013–2020 National Action Plan), http://www.gov.cn/zwgk/2013-03/08/content_2349019.htm, archived at https://perma.cc/V4KZ-MF4J.   

[16] Id.

[17] Id.

[18] Report on the National Anti-Trafficking Workshop in China, humantrafficking.org (Oct. 4, 2007), http://www.humantrafficking.org/updates/712, archived at https://perma.cc/4RRQ-GRC8.

[19] Guowuyuan Fanguai Buji Lianxi Huiyi Bangongshi Juban Fanguai Peixunban [The State Council Anti-Trafficking Inter-Ministerial Joint Conference Held Workshop], People.com (Aug. 25, 2009), http://politics.people.com.cn/GB/1027/9923194.html, archived at https://perma.cc/9W5U-SZZY.

[20] Quanguo Daguai Fanguai Peixunban Zai Hulunbei’er Juban [National Combating-and-Anti-Trafficking Workshop Held in Hulunbei’er], Supreme People’s Court of the PRC (July 28, 2010), http://courtapp.chinacourt.org/shenpan-xiangqing-1357.html, archived at https://perma.cc/BE3F-26SU.

[21] Quanguo Daguai Fanguai Gongzuo Peixunban Kaiban [National Combating-and-Anti-Trafficking Workshop Held], UN-ACT China (Mar. 31, 2012), http://www.notip.org.cn/article/Details.asp?LanFlag=1&News Id=7382&classid=20&BID=, archived at https://perma.cc/UN8T-D8FW.  

[22] United Nations Action for Cooperation against Trafficking in Persons Annual Progress Report 2014, at 13, http://un-act.org/publication/view/un-act-2014-annual-report/, archived at https://perma.cc/8ZUJ-HKRV.

[23] COMMIT: The Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative Against Trafficking, United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking, http://www.no-trafficking.org/commit.html (last visited Feb. 5, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/F4NW-V93F.

[24] Gong’anbu Xingzhen Ju Du Hangwei Juzhang Zai Meigonghe Ciquyu Hezuo Fanguai Diwuci Gaoguan Huiyi Shang de Fayan [Speech of Du Hangwei, Director-General of the MPS Criminal Investigation Bureau on the Fifth Meeting of the Greater Mekong Sub-region Anti-Trafficking Cooperation], MPS, http://www.mps.gov.cn/n16/ n983040/n1294479/n1294540/1718652.html (last visited Feb. 5, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/MK66-3AH8.

[25] Id.

Back to Top

 

Last Updated: 03/18/2016