Beijing: Dozens of Vietnamese women who were "bought" by Chinese men for marriage in a central China village have gone missing, raising suspicion that they might have been sold again by human traffickers to other regions.
The women disappeared suddenly from villages in Hunan Province recently, long after they were sold to locals from poverty-stricken hometowns in Vietnam, a report in the state-run Shanghai Daily said.
Very few villagers reported the disappearance of women to the police for fear that their purchases of brides would be exposed.
The wife of Hu Jianhe, a Vietnamese, went missing several months ago. Hu didn`t notice anything unusual before her disappearance, the report said.
His wife simply went shopping in the town and never came back. But in July, Hu received a phone call from his wife, who wept and begged Hu to send 20,000 yuan (USD 3,131) to free her from human traffickers.
She said she had been resold to a remote village in southwest Yunnan Province, but refused to reveal the detailed address.
The same thing happened to a few fellow villagers.
A large influx of Vietnamese brides were sold to the hinterland of Hunan since 2008, according to Hu.
Local government turned a blind eye to the purchases of brides because it was very common for locals to buy wives, the report quoted Hu Chunmei, former village secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China, (CPC) as saying.
Hu Chunmei, in fact, was the witness of several marriages involving Vietnamese brides, it said.
The price for each bride ranged from 30,000 yuan to 40,000 yuan plus another 2,000-yuan "introduction fee" paid to human traffickers, the report said.
Without identification papers, marriage certificates or residence permits, these illegal immigrants were not protected by law.
Their records didn`t exist in the police system, making them "invisible" and "untraceable" by local police, the report said.
Police received the missing-wives report from only two villagers, but according to Hu Jianhe, there were many more cases.
Yang Jinmei, one of the Vietnamese brides, was kidnapped by human traffickers in 2008 at the border of China and Vietnam.
"Some Vietnamese women were willing to marry Chinese husbands, while others were abducted or coaxed," Yang said.