BEIJING, July 21 (Xinhuanet) -- Police across the country will treat all cases of missing children and women as crimes and set up separate special investigation teams for each of the cases in the latest bid to curb human trafficking, the Ministry of Public Security has announced.
"This is the first time the ministry has made clear such a mechanism," Chen Shiqu, chief of the ministry's anti-trafficking office, told China Daily on Tuesday.
The move, which follows a nine-month campaign against human trafficking, aims to spare more manpower and resources for cases involving missing children and women.
The ministry, together with the top court and procuratorate, issued a guideline in March, directing police nationwide to step up investigations in cases involving missing girls between the ages of 14 and 18.
Chen said he believes that criminals have become "more professional" in recent years, as trafficking syndicates have become more organized.
"An increasing number of trafficked children and women are forced to beg or join the flesh trade," he said.
During the nine-month anti-trafficking campaign, which kicked off on April 9 last year, the country's police rescued a total of 14,717 children and women, according to the ministry's latest data.
They arrested 17,528 suspects, including 19 who had a level-A (most) wanted warrant against them.
About 30,000 to 60,000 children are reported missing every year in China, but it is hard to estimate how many are cases of human trafficking, the ministry said.
To help reunite children with their families, police will speed up the establishment of a national DNA database, which as of now has a record of only about 30,000 samples.
Information in the database is shared among the 236 DNA laboratories in the country.
"The DNA database still needs blood samples from missing children's parents, children suspected of having been abducted or with an unclear history, children in social welfare institutes, homeless children and children who beg," Chen said.
Each DNA test costs at least 2,400 yuan ($350) in Beijing. The fee varies from province to province.