Taobao is helping out local police from all over the country to help track down missing children, by placing into users’ message boxes information regarding numerous missing children from around China.
Information such as age, gender, height and weight, how long they have been missing and from where they vanished, accompany photos of each child. The e-commerce APP allows users to clearly identify children and easily make reports if a missing child is spotted.
While no one can say for certain exactly how many children go missing each year, in 2011 Foreign Policy reported, “Independent estimates put the number at 70,000, while official government reports say no more than 10,000” Chinese children go missing each year.
Since the early 1980s and 1990s kidnapping and human trafficking has been an escalating problem in China. Children have been sold to other Chinese families looking to adopt, sold into prostitution, slave labour or even crippled to resemble beggars on the street.
According to Anqi Shen, Georgios Antonopoulos and Georgios Papanicolaou, in China’s Stolen Children: Internal Child Trafficking in the People’s Republic of China’, Trends in Organized Crime, “Some 58 million ‘left behind children’ must live effectively uncared-for each year as their parents migrate to cities in search of work”, which leaves them vulnerable to traffickers.
The government has itself committed to fighting the issue of human trafficking by issuing the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking for 2013-2020, as reported by the Global Slavery Index.
In addition, after the launch of an APP by the Ministry of Public Security in 2016, it was reported a total of 1,274 missing children were found that year. Of those children “40 had been abducted, 750 had run away from home, 192 were lost, 75 died by drowning [and] 29 were murdered”, reported Xie Zhenqi of CGTN.
While tougher laws to combat kidnapping have been introduced and greater efforts are being made from the government and the people, the problem remains prevalent. That the mighty world of e-commerce is now doing its bit in the form of this excellent piece of Corporate Social Responsibility by Taobao can only help in addressing the tragic issue.